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The Wesleyan Standards. 



Sometime Eellow of Lincoln QBllege, Oxford. 





Jjlditptyd to % ffrfa of jf teif/f/£. 


Book Editor, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

• Vol. I. 

Nashville, Tenn. 

Dallas, Tex.; Bichmond, Va. 

Publishing House op the M. E. Church, South 

Lamar & Barton, Agents 


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1886, 

By the Book Agents of the M. E. Church, South, 
to the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washingtoa. 


No apology is needed for this edition of Mr. Wesley's Ser- 
mons. From the foundation of our Church, the Fifty-two Ser- 
mons, first published in four volumes, have been accepted as 
forming an important part of our doctrinal standards. The 
test of time, the lapse of one hundred years, reveals the wis- 
dom of our fathers in accepting these helps to the formation 
of a pure scriptural creed. Without note or comment they 
have formed a part of our Course of Study for many years, 
and are now sent forth in these volumes with such additional 
aids as experience has rendered necessary. 

Many of our young men have not received the method- 
ical training which qualifies one to analyze and digest a body 
of doctrinal truth without the assistance of a teacher. Those 
who have received a regular course of theological tuition 
will not find the aids here presented without a certain value. 
The design is not to substitute the labor of the student by 
elaborate notes, but to suggest a method of study that will 
render the effort of the student in the highest degree suc- 

I have followed, in the general arrangement, the plan of 
Professor Burwash, of Canada, in his edition of the Wesleyan 
Standards for the use of the Methodist Church in Canada. 
In the position of the Introductory Notes and the Analysis I 
have inverted the order, pfacing the Notes first, and the Anal- 
ysis next in order, and immediately preceding the Sermon. 
The Notes are taken from various sources, but chiefly from 
the work of Professor Burwash. Wherever I have used his 
language, I have made acknowledgment in the text. The 
Analyses are his, with the exception of those prefixed to the 
six sermons XXI.-XXVI. 



The Questions appended to the sermons I have added as a 
special feature, intended to facilitate the progress of the stu- 
dent by directing him to the most important points contained 
in the sermon. In most instances the question refers to the 
first general statement in the paragraph. It is not intended 
that these Questions should embrace all the points of impor- 
tance in the sermon, but only such as may lead to an intel- 
ligent conception o*f the entire argument. To adapt the 
Questions to all the subjects worthy of notice would enlarge 
the volume, without accomplishing the object in view. 

Commending these Sermons to every student of the Bible, 
and especially to those who are called to expound the gos- 
pel, I can only add a fervent wish that they may prove a 
blessing to all who study them diligently and practice the 
principles they inculcate. 

W. P. Harrison, Book Ediior. 

Nashville, December, 1886. 


In the preparation of this edition of the Wesleyan Stand- 
|rds, two objects have been kept steadily in view. First, the 
nrrangement of the Introductory Notes, Analyses, and Ques- 
tions in such a manner as to bring distinctly to view the sys- 
tem of Methodist theology. In the second place, to provide 
by this arrangement a complete series of helps for the use 
of the student, thereby forming a practical text-book for those 
who need to be directed in the method of studying the ser- 
mons. Among this class of students the first and mo6t prom- 
inent are the young ministers in our traveling connection. 
Next to these, the local preachers, teachers of Bible classes, 
and all others who may desire to attain to proficiency in this 
department of Methodist theology. 

In order to prepare the student for this work, it is neces- 
sary to notice, briefly — 

I. The Nature and Proper Use of Doctrinal Standards. 

It is obvious to every one that the fundamental doctrines 
of the gospel ought to be clearly understood by those whose 
office it is to teach them. It is no less obvious that con- 
nected with these doctrines which may be called fundamental 
are many others which are necessary to a clear and logical 
system of theology. These latter we may not seek to im- 
pose upon all Christians, and yet they are indispensable to 
us. To leave the entire gospel to the whims and caprices 
of individual interpreters is to destroy all unity of senti- 
ment, and to cause the trumpet to give an uncertain sound. 
Uniformity of teaching in all important branches of truth 
is essential to the harmonious development of the Christian 
life. The adoption of a series of standards drawn from the 
Holy Scriptures, and used as guides in the effort to comprp 



hend the will of God, is the only method by which practical 
uniformity can be obtained. Within these limits every prin- 
ciple that may be properly called Wesleyan should be con- 
fined, leaving a large and harmless liberty of opinion with 
regard to any view or interpretation of Scripture that does 
not involve the integrity of the Wesleyan system. Thus we 
attain a twofold purpose: we secure uniformity in essential 
doctrines, and give sufficient margin for individual liberty 
in the discovery and interpretation of divine truth. We 
believe that this was the design of Mr. Wesley himself, and 
in adopting this course we are not only pursuing a method 
that recommends itself to our judgment, but are carrying 
out the purpose and wishes of the man who, under Divine 
Providence, became the leader in a revival of practical re- 
ligion which is even now extending its influence and becom- 
ing more and more a blessing to the world. 

This uniformity of doctrinal belief has usually been ob- 
tained by the use of creeds. As the name {credo, I believe) 
implies, the earliest known form was simply a confession of 
faith, in which the principal articles of religion were com- 
prised. Although we find no specimen of this kind in the 
New Testament, there is nothing in the fact itself that is 
necessarily in conflict with the Holy Scriptures. While 
there is in no inspired book a complete formula or symbol 
resembling modern articles of religion, it is evident that the 
absence of apostolical authority would naturally cause the 
early Christians to compile out of the Scriptures a system 
of doctrine which would serve a double purpose. It would 
present the substance of apostolic teaching in a brief and 
practical form, whereby the Christian religion could be 
readily taught. Its secondary purpose would be the pre- 
vention of discord and dissension by uniting under one bond 
all of those who should become the teachers of the people. 
That creeds and confessions of faith have been greatly 
abused, and have been made the occasion of oppression and 
cruelty, will not form an argument against their legitimate 


and proper use. It is certainly true in doctrinal as in other 
matters pertaining to mankind, that two persons cannot 
walk together unless they agree. Co-operation in action 
implies union of sentiment. 

There is, however, a marked difference between the doc- 
trinal standards of Methodism and those of other Churches. 
Protestant Churches have adopted, almost without excep- 
tion, confessions of faith, or articles of religion, as the sole 
standard of doctrinal teaching. These they regard as brief 
summaries of the gospel contained in the New Testament. 
Mr. Wesley departed from the custom of ages by giving to 
his followers not merely the outlines of a system of truth to 
be subscribed and believed, but the method and substance of 
doctrine in the form of sermons delivered from the pulpit. 
The wisdom of this method the experience of more than a 
century has demonstrated. The brief, and often ambiguous, 
forms of a creed may sometimes promote, instead of prevent- 
ing, dissension and controversy. In such a concise state- 
ment the mere letter of the truth can be recorded. In the 
Wesleyan Standards we have the spirit of the truth also. 
The manner of presenting the great doctrines of the gospel, 
the arguments by which the truth of God may be most suc- 
cessfully defended, and the objections which the sinful nature 
of man presents in the form of excuse or extenuation for 
neglect or abuse of the divine mercy, are all set forth with 
felicity of diction and comprehensiveness of knowledge. 
The forms of error which Mr. Wesley attacks are not those 
which are peculiar to a country or an age. However they 
may change the distinctive expressions which apply to them 
in the eighteenth century, these errors are still in existence, 
and must be overthrown if the gospel is to meet the wants 
of the world and destroy the kingdom of Satan. 

The facts here stated prepare us to consider — 

II. The Wesleyan Standards of Doctrine. 

These are, the Twenty-five Articles of Religion — all of 
tfhich, except the one relating to civil government, wer? 



prepared by Mr. Wesley for the Methodists in America— the 
Fifty-two Sermons contained in the two volumes here pre- 
sented, and the Notes on the New Testament. Of the Arti- 
cles of Religion this is not the place to speak. The Ser- 
mons, as before stated, are, in a sense, complementary to 
the Articles, and the Notes were intended to assist the stu- 
dent in the examination of the New Testament, wherein, 
it is believed, the doctrines of the Sermons are explicitly 

The doctrines contained in the Fifty-two Sermons are thus 
stated by Professor Burwash: 

" 1. The universality and impartiality of God's grace to 
man as manifested in the provisions of the atonement. 

" 2. The freedom of the human will, and man's individ- 
ual, probational responsibility to God. 

"3. The absolute necessity, in religion, of holiness in 
heart and life. 

"4. The natural impossibility of this to fallen human 

" 5. The perfect provision for this necessity and impossi- 
bility, as well as for the pardon of past sins, in the salvation 
offered by Christ. 

" 6. The sole condition of this salvation — faith. 

"7. The conscious witness of the Spirit to this salva- 

" This full-orbed conception of scriptural religion," says 
Professor Burwash, "embraced th.- great scriptural verities 
of all ages and schools of Christian thought. It grasped 
the wideness of God's love witli the old Greek Christian and 
the modern Arminian, and it sounded the depths of the hu- 
man heart with Augustine. It maintained the necessity of 
good works with the Roman Church, and ii recognized the 
peculiar import of faith with Protestantism. With the 
Churchman it held the importance of means and with the 
evangelical mystic it recognized the peculiar office of inward 
grace; and it built the doctrines of inward holiness and 


Christian perfection of the English mystics upon their true 
foundation by uniting them to the evangelical principle of 
saving faith." 

This system of doctrine commends itself to our judgment 
in many ways. It is found to be in perfect accord with the 
whole tenor of the Bible. There are doctrinal beliefs that 
have been founded upon a single text of Scripture. These 
single-text doctrines are frequently in absolute conflict with 
many other portions of Scripture, and the apology which is 
offered for accepting the one against the many sometimes 
ends in a confession that both classes of doctrines are true. 
However great the antagonism may be, it is claimed that it 
is not the duty of man to reconcile these opposing doctrines, 
but to believe them. There are great names in the Christian 
world that are identified with this questionable method of 
dealing with the Holy Scriptures. 

Mr. Wesley, however, maintained that the Bible was con- 
sistent with itself, and a book that appealed to the reason as 
well as to the faith of mankind must be so interpreted as to 
bring all its doctrinal statements into harmony with each 
other. If an occasional expression, taken by itself, seemed 
to antagonize other and plainer passages, the presumption 
is that the single text has been misinterpreted. In the 
light of this method we are not required to labor for an 
exhaustive exegesis of any class of scriptural statements. 
The unity of purpose and the unity of doctrine go hand 
in hand, presenting a sure basis of belief, and preserving 
the character of God in all the beauty of his holiness ana 

This system commends itself to our judgment further, in 
that it records the personal experience of one who was a re- 
markable instrument in the hand of Providence. The his- 
torical character of Mr. Wesley's teaching is so distinctive 
that it may properly be called unique. There is nothing like 
it in the history of Christian doctrine. It was the outcome 
of a personal desire to find the pearl of great price. The 


subject of this intense longing for the bread of life was qual- 
ified in the most remarkable manner for the task. He was 
a man of learning even in his youth. With the sacred 
Scriptures in their original tongues he was thoroughly ac- 
quainted, even in a scholastic point of view, and was excelled 
in this department of criticism by few, if any, in his time. 
He was by early training and by the direction of his per- 
sonal ambition peculiarly qualified to search after truth. 
His teachableness, his patience, his humility, the vigor of 
his understanding, and his tireless energy, united to can- 
dor and simplicity of mind and heart, present a combina- 
tion of qualities which can be found only among those who 
have been selected by Divine Providence to lead men into 
the noblest and grandest fields of human endeavor. 

The length of time employed in this personal develop- 
ment of doctrinal truth exceeded fifty years. From the 
earliest to the latest hour of his life some of these doctrines 
were maintained. Others, developed in and attested by his 
own experience in 1738, he patiently reviewed and narrowly 
examined fifty years afterward, and confidently proclaimed 
his conviction of their scriptural soundness. Thus we have 
from the historical point of view a system of religious truth 
fearlessly maintained in the face of every species of opposi- 
tion, from the contemptuous indifference of the Pharisee or 
the infidel, to the cruel and brutal persecution of the infuri- 
ated zealot or the half-heathen mob. 

One of the principal features of these Sermons is their 
caulroversial character. In this respect they are worthy of 
admiration on several grounds. Mr. Wesley recognized the 
truth, sufficiently obvious, and yet by many writers of his 
time overlooked, that the office of logic is simply to provide 
the clearest and most satisfactory method of reasoning. 
Therefore he wrote plainly, because he wrote for plain peo- 
ple; and he employed the simplest methods of speech, be- 
cause these were best calculated to convince the understand- 
ing. To persuade men to accept and to practice " the '.ruth 


as it is in Jesus" was his only purpose. To triumph over 
his adversaries was an object far beneath his ambition; to 
convince them of error, and to induce them to embrace the 
truth, was a purpose of transcendent importance. He dis- 
cusses no subjecj that is not directly related to the spiritual 
well-being of his hearers. With him theory is nothing un- 
less it leads to correct practice. We find, therefore, in these 
Sermons only those subjects that belong to the development 
of personal religion, the reign of Christ in the soul. Upon 
these themes he argues with such clearness that it is impossi- 
ble not to understand his meaning, and with such logical 
precision that we cannot resist the force of his conclusions. 
"Methodism from the beginning," says Prof. Burwash, 
" had been a living protest against the cold externalism and 
formalism which had well-nigh extinguished all genuine re- 
ligion in England in the beginning of the eighteenth centu- 
ry. It was likewise in uncompromising antagonism with 
all those doctrines of legalism, sacramentarianism, and 
Churchism which ally themselves so naturally to formality. 
The Wesleys themselves, while free from the frivolities of 
modern ritualism, and while strenuously opposed to the 
easy-going legality of latitudinarianism, were still preju- 
diced High-churchmen and Sacramentarians in the begin- 
ning of their career. But by the time of the origin of our 
standards the evangelical leaven had eliminated almost 
every vestige of these antagonistic principles. But the 
evangelical doctrine was not without its peculiar dangers. 
The doctrine of faith, by what appeared to be a very slight 
modification, but which was in reality a total perversion of 
its principles, was easily imitated by an Antinomian theory 
of salvation by logical deduction. A commercial view of 
the atonement, a disregard of the profound work of the 
Spirit and of the necessity of repentance, and a resting in 
an intellectual assurance instead of the God-given witness 
of the Spirit — these were the elements out of which were 
constructed an imitation of evangelical religion which, even 
in Mr. Wesley's day, threatened to pervert the great work 


of grace which <<od had wrought through his preaching. 
The four volumes of Sermons appeared in their final form 
just at the juncture when the conflict with Antinoniianism 
culminated in the Calvinistic controversy. But a quarter 
of a centurv he fore this the Doctrinal Minutes had guarded 
the preachers against Antinoniian error; so that, as during 
that time these sermons had grown into form, they embodied 
the opposition of the true Christian life to all varieties of 
teaching which might favor this spurious imitation. 

"There were other minor forms of error, such as the Mo- 
ravian stillness and certain enthusiastic extravagances, 
which have left their impress on the form of the Sermons; 
but in their opposition to all these things the Sermons did 
not cease to be sermons. They maintained their practical 
and spiritual character, and aimed only and directly at the 
extension and perfection of the religious life. 

"Another cause which prevented this controversial aspect 
of the Sermons from marring their perfection as standards 
of doctrine for all time was the fact that the essential prin- 
ciples of these controversies belong to all time. They are 
as old as the days of Paul, and have repeated themselves in 
every subsequent age of the Church's historv. It was, 
therefore, imperatively necessary that standards of doctrine 
should give no uncertain sound in regard to the questions 
herein involved. 

" Finally, in the study of these documents, it must be 
borne in mind that they were proposed as standards of 
prenehiiif/. That which was to be tested by them wa.s tfie pul- 
pit in every Methodist Church. This was to be the ti/pe of 
jireachinr/ for which these houses were erected. The relation in 
which Methodism stood to (he Kstablished Church in Fal- 
kland during Mr. Wesley's life provided for the doctrinal 
unity of Methodism with the Protestant Helormation. 
When, in the United States of America, Methodism became 
an independent Church, the same provision was made bv 
the abridged and amended Articles of Religion. Hut the 
introduction of the Sermons and Notes as the standard of 


preaching into every trust-deed of a chapel or church in the 
Connection assured, as far as human means can do so, an 
Arminian evangelical preaching and exposition of God's 
Word for all time. 

"To interpret these standards or apply them after the 
manner of Articles of Religion, or Creeds, or Confessions of 
Faith, which categorically define the doctrines to be pro- 
fessed or believed, would be contrary to their very nature. 
It is to the spirit and type of this preaching that our obligations 
bind us. There may be in the Notes and Sermons many 
tilings, accidental and personal, to which no Methodist min- 
ister or layman would feel bound to profess assent. But 
Methodism demands that in our pulpits we should preach 
this gospel and expound the Word of God according to this 
analogy of faith." 

The student should keep in mind the important truth 
that there is no new principle in Christian theology. While 
the modes of interpretation, the terms by which the Word 
of God is explained and illustrated, will in different ages 
vary according to the degres of enlightenment and the en- 
vironment of the ministry and the laymen of the Church, 
yet truth is always old. We can discover nothing that the 
apostles did not know concerning the will of God and the 
revelation of God to men. Our progress, then, while it may 
be forward, in advance, when comparing our own with the 
ages that have passed away since the death of inspired men, 
is only toward a perfect interpretation of what these in- 
spired men have given us in the Bible. 

Viewed in this light, there can be no surrender of our 
liberty of thought by adopting a system of truth based upon 
the Scriptures, which we must explain and enforce as we 
may have divine assistance. It is not necessary to employ 
the words recorded in these discourses. It is the spirit of 
truth which is commended to us. This we must preserve, 
and hand down to others who shall follow us as we have 
followed Christ, whose will and words have been interpreted 
and applied by the man whose parish was the world. 


In this volume there are twenty-six sermons, divided as 

1. Sermons I.- IV. were preached before the University of 
Oxford. They contain the fundamental evangelical doctrine 
of "salvation by faith " in contrast with the imperfect ( liris- 
tianity of outward works and the indifference of worldly 
minds ;is a work of the Holy Ghost. 

2. Eight sermons (V-XIL), being the substance of Mr. 
Wesley's evangelical preaching during the earlier period of 
his ministry. (Sermon XI. was added in the year IT'iT.j 
The gospel salvation is expounded as justification or right- 
eousness by faith, with its antecedent conditions, repentance 
and faith; its results, the fruits of the Spirit, the Spirit of 
adoption, and the twofold witness of the Spirit of God with 
our own spirit. 

3. Twosermons (XIII. and XIV.), inserted in 1771,guard- 
•ngthe evangelical doctrines against the perfectionism of the 
Moravians, and encouraging weak Christians. 

4. Sermon XV., a special sermon on the Judgment, 
preached in 1758, and inserted in 1771. 

5. Sermon XVI., guarding the evangelical doctrines 
against the "stillness" of the Moravians. 

6. Sermons XVII.-XX., guarding the evangelical doc- 
trines against Antinomianism. The last of these was added 
in 1771. 

7 Sermons XXI.-XXVT., on our Lord's Sermon en lb* 
Mount, complete the volume. 


Thk following Sermons contain the substance of what 
[ have been preaching for between eight and nine years 
last past.* During that time I have frequently spoken 
in public, on every subject in the ensuing collection : 
and I am not conscious, that there is any one point of 
doctrine, on which I am accustomed to speak in public, 
which is not here, incidentallly, if not professedly, laid 
before every Christian reader. Every serious man, who 
peruses these, will therefore see in the clearest manner, 
what these doctrines are, which I embrace and teach, 
as the essentials of true religion. 

2 But I am thoroughly sensible, these are not pro- 
posed in such a manner as some may expect. Nothing 
here appears in an elaborate, elegant, or oratorical dress. 
If it had been my desire or design to write thus, mj 
leisure would not permit. But, in truth, I, at present, 
designed nothing less ; for I now write, as I generally 
speak, adpopulum : to the bulk of mankind, to thoso 
who neither relish nor understand the art of speaking ; 
but who, notwithstanding, are competent judges of 
those truths, which are necessary to present and futuir 

• In toe jremr 1747 



happiness. I mention this, that curious readers maj 
spare themselves the labour of seeking for what thej 
will not find. 

3. I design plain truth for plain people : therefore, 
of set purpose, I abstain from all nice and philosophi- 
oal speculations ; from all perplexed and intricate 
reasonings ; and, as far as possible, from even the show 
of learning, unless in sometimes citing the original 
Scripture. I labour to avoid all words which are not 
easy to be understood, all which are not used in common 
life ; and, in particular, those kinds of technical terms 
that so frequently occur in bodies of divinity, — those 
modes of speaking, which men of reading are inti- 
mately acquainted with, but which, to common people, 
are an unknown tongue. Yet I am not assured, that I 
do not sometimes slide into them unawares : it is so 
extremely natural to imagine, that a word which is 
familiar to ourselves is so to all the world. 

4. Nay, my design is, in some sense, to forget all 
that ever I have read in my life. I mean to speak, in 
the general, as if I had never read one author, ancient 
or modern (always excepting the inspired) : I am per- 
suaded that, on the one hand, this may be a means of 
enabling me more clearly to express the sentiments of 
my heart, while I simply follow the chain of my owr. 
thoughts, without entangling myself with those of other 
men ; and that, on the other, I shall come with fewer 
weights upon my mind, with less of prejudice and pre- 
possession either to search for myself, or to deliver to 
others the naked truths of the gospel. 

5. To candid, reasonable men, I am not afraid to laj 
»pen what have been the inmost thoughts of my heart 


[ have thought, 1 ana a creature of a day, passing 
through life, as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit 
aomo from Odd : just hovering over the great gulf; till a 
few moments hence, I am no more seen ! I drop into an 
unchangeable eternity ! I want to know one thing, the 
way to heaven : how to land safe on that happy shore. 
God himself has condescended to teach the way ; foi 
this very end he came from heaven. He hath written 
it down in a book I Oh, give me that book ! At anj 
price, give me the book of God ! I have it : here is 
knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius 
libri.* Here then I am, far from the busy ways of 
men. I sit down alone : only God is here. In his 
presence I open, I read this book ; for this end, to find 
the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the 
meaning of what I read ? Does any thing appear dark 
or intricate ? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights. 
Lord, is it not thy word, " If any man lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God ?" Thou " givest liberally and up- 
braidest not." Thou hast said, " If any be willing to 
do thy will, he shall know." I am willing to do ; let 
me know thy will. I then search after, and consider 
parallel passages of Scripture, " comparing spiritual 
things with spiritual." I meditate thereon, with all the 
attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable 
If any doubt strll remains, I consult those who arc ex- 
perienced in the things of God ; and then, the writings 
whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thui 
learn, that I teach. 
6. I have accordingly set down in the following ser- 

* A man of on* book. 
2 A vol. i. * a 


mous, what I find in the Bible concerning the way tc 
heaven ; with a view to distinguish this way of Gi>d, 
from all those which are the inventions of men. I 
have endeavoured to describe the true, the scriptural, 
experimental religion, so as to omit nothing which ig a 
real part thereof, and to add nothing thereto which is 
not. And herein it is more especially my desire, first 
to guard those who are just setting their faces towards 
heaven (and who, having little acquaintance with the 
things of God, are the more liable to be turned out of the 
way,) from formality, from mere outside religion, which 
has almost driven heart religion out of the world ; and, 
secondly, to warn those who know the religion of the 
heart, the faith which worketh by love, lest at any time 
they make void the law through faith, and so fall back 
into the snare of the devil. 

7. By the advice, and at the request of some of my 
friends, I have prefixed to the other sermons contained 
in this volume, three sermons of my own, and one of 
my brother's, preached before the university of Oxford. 
My design required some discourses on those heads. 
And I preferred these before any others, as being a 
stronger answer than any which can be drawn up now, 
to those who have frequently asserted, that we have 
changed our doctrine of late, and do not preach now, 
what we did some years ago. Any man of understand- 
ing may now judge for himself, when he has compared 
the latter with the former sermons. 

8. But some may say, I have mistaken the way myself, 
although I take upon me to teach it to others. It ia 
probable many will think this, and it is very possible 
that I have. But I trust, whereinsoever I have mi*. 


taken, my mind is open to conviction. I sincerelj 
desire to be better informed. I say to Qod and man, 
" What I know not, teach thou me 1" 

9. Are you persuaded you see more clearly than me 7 
It is not unlikely that you may. Then treat me as you 
would desire to be treated yourself upon a change of 
eireum stances. Point me out a better way than I have 
yet known. Show me it is so, by plain proof of Scrip- 
ture. And if I linger in the path I have been accus- 
tomed to tread, and am therefore unwilling to leave it, 
labour with me a little ; take me by the hand, and lead 
me as I am able to bear. But be not displeased if 1 
entreat you not to beat me down in order to quicken my 
pace : I can go but feebly and slowly at best ; then, 1 
should not be able to go at all. May I not request of 
you, farther, not to give me hard names in order to bring 
me into the right way. Suppose I were ever so much in 
the wrong, I doubt not this would not set me right. 
Rather, it would make me run so much the farther 
from you, and so get more and more out of the way. 

10. Nay, perhaps, if you are angry, so shall I be 
too ; and then there will be small hopes of finding the 
truth. If once anger arise, tptt xartvof, (as Homer 
somewhere expresses it,) this smoke will so dim the eyes 
of my soul, that I shall be able to see nothing clearly. 
For God's sake, if it be possible to avoid it, let us not 
provoke one another to wrath. Let us not kindle in 
each other this fire of hell ; much less blow it up into 
« flame. If we could discern truth by that dreadful 
light, would it not be loss, rather than gain ? For, 
now far is love, even with many wrong opinions, to b« 
preferred before truth itself without love I We ma; 


die without the knowledge of many truths, and jet be 
carried into Abraham's bosom. But if we die without 
love, what will knowledge avail ? Just as much as it 
avails the devil and bis angels ! 

The God of love forbid we should ever make the 
trial ! May he prepare us for the knowledge of all 
truth, by filling our hearts with all his love, and with 
ail joy and peace in believing ! 


Salvation by Faith * 29 

* By grace ■» ye Bared through faith."— Era. ii. 8. 

Tht-Almost Christian 44 

" Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." — Acfrg xxTi. 28. 


Awake, thou thatsleepest 53 

" Awake, thou that deepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light"— Eph. v. 14. 


Scriptural Christianity 78 

" And they were all tilled with the Holy Ghost."— Acts It. 31. 

futtification by Faith 103 

"To him that worketh not, but beliereth on him that jnstlfleth the 
ungodly, his faith Is counted for righteousness."— Rom. It. 4. 

The Righteousness of Faith 123 

" Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the 

man which doeth those things shall live by them. 
" But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Bay 

not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven! (that is, to 

bring Christ down from above :) 
"Or, Who shall descend into the deep! (that is, to bring up Christ 

again from the dead.) 
'But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and 

lathy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach."— Bom 

21 • 


The Way to the Kingdom 141 

" The kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye, and believe th» gcs> 
pel."— Mari i. 16. 

The First Fruits of the Spirit 150 

" There la therefore now no condemnation to them which are In Chriit 
Jeans, who walk not after the flush, but after the Spirit"— Rom. 
▼Hi. 1. 

The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption 177 

" Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but ye 
hare received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, 
rather."— Rom. viii. 16. 


"T%« Witness of the Spirit 201 


" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the 
children of God."— Rom. viii. 16. 

SERMON (xj) 
Tke Witness of the Spirit 219 


" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that wo are the 
children of God." — Rom. viii. If. 

The Witness of our own Spirit 237 

"This la our rejoicing, the testimony of our conseienoe, that in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." 

9» Sin in Believers > 239 

"If aw man be in Christ, he is a new creature."— 2 Cor. t. IT. 




The Repentance of Believers 278 

"Bapent »«, and Deliere the gospel."— Mabk L 16. 

n*s Great Assize 800 

« We dull all stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ."— Bon. it*. 

The Means of Grace 824 

" Te are gone away from mine ordinances, and bare not kept then.* 
— Hal. Ui. 7. 

The Circumcision of the Heart 347 

"Circumcision U that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the let 
^Jjr."— Bom. ii. 29. 


The Marks of the New Birth 867 

" 8o is eyery one that la born of the Spirit"— John Ui. 8. 


The Great Privilege of those that are Born of God 885 

" Whoaoarer la born of God, doth not commit sin."— 1 Joan UL 9 


The Lord our Righteousness. 

"Tbla ia hi* name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Bifb* 
•oasness."-Jas. xxiii «. 

Vfon our Lord's Sermon on {he Mount 429 


"And aaafakg the multitudes, he went up into a mountain : and wb 
ha) was act, his disciples came unto him," Ac. — Matt. ». 1-4. 


Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount 451 


" Blamd arc the meek : for they shall Inherit the earth," Aa^-kUn. 


Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount 474 

discourse m. 

" Bleated are the pore in heart: for they shall see God," *o. — Mar. 
r. 8-12. 

Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount 497 


"\e are the salt of the earth: but if the salt hare lost his sarour, 
wherewith shall it be salted 1 it is thenceforth good for nothtnf 
bnt to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men," Ac— 
Matt. t. 13-16. 

Jpon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount 620 


"TLlnk not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I 
am not come to destroy, bnt to fulfil,'' Ac — Matt. t. 17-20. 

Upon vur Lord's Sermon on the Mount 545 


" Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them : 
otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which Is In heaven," 
*o— kUn. Ti. 1-16. 


This sermon was preached by Mr. Wesley before the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, June 11, 1738, eighteen days after the 
conscious experience of the new life. It consists of three 
pails — the definition of faith, the definition of salvation, and 
the answer to objections. 

For many years Mr. Wesley had been seeking for salva- 
tion by the works of the law. Going about to establish his 
own righteousness by prayer, fasting, and in doing good 
works, he found not the pearl of great price. At last he 
was convinced by Peter Boehler, the Moravian, that salva- 
tion comes by faith — and that it comes whenever the soul 
puts its trust in Christ the Saviour. As this sermon was the 
immediate result of his own conversion, it is proper to give 
his experience in his own words: 

"Accordingly, the next day he [Peter Boehler] came 
again with three others, all of whom testified of their own per- 
sonal experience that a true living faith in Christ is insep- 
arable from a sense of pardon for all past and freedom from 
all present sins. They added with one mouth that this faith 
was the gift, the free gift of God ; and that he would surely 
bestow it upon every soul who earnestly and perseveringly 
sought it. I was now thoroughly convinced ; and by the grace 
of God I resolved to seek it unto the end: 1. By absolutely 
renouncing all dependence, in whole or in part, upon my (mm 
works or righteousness; on which I had really grounded my 
hope of salvation, though I knew it not, from my youth up. 
2. By adding to the constant use of all the other means of 



grace continual prayer for the very thing, justifying saving 
grace, a full reliance on the blood of Christ shed for me; a 
trust in him as my Christ, as my sole justification, sanctifica- 
tion, and redemption. 

"I continued thus to seek it ^ though with strange indiffer- 
ence, dullness, and coldness, and unusually frequent relapses 
into sin) till Wednesday, May 24th. 1 think it was about 
five this morning that I opened my Testament on these 
words Ta fieyicra qfiiv mi rtfua enayyelfiara Sedupr/Tai , iva 
yevqode 6eta<; koivuvoi Qvoeuc: ' There are given unto us ex- 
ceeding great and precious promises, even that ye shonld 
be partakers of the Divine nature,' 2 Peter i. 4. Just as I 
went out I opened it again on these words: 'Thou art not 
far from the kingdom of God.' In the afternoon I was asked 
to go to St. Paul's. The anthem was: 'Out of the deep have 
I called unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice. O let 
thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, 
Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, 
who may abide it? For there is mercy with thee; there- 
fore, thou shalt be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord : for 
with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous re- 
demption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his sins.' 

" In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in 
Aldersgate street, where one was reading Luther's preface 
to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, 
while he was describing the change which God works in the 
heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely 
warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for sal- 
vation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken 
away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin 
and death." 

Thus was Mr. Wesley led step by step, until he realized 
the great blessing of conscious pardon. The IIolv Spirit 
sealed the truth to his heart, and under the gracious influ- 
ence he gave himself wholly to the Lord by an act of trust 
in the Saviour of men. Then he was able to say : " His blood 
was shed for me; he is my Saviour." As he defines this 


faith in the following sermon, so he describes the salvation 
which attends it. This knowledge of salvation from sin is 
illustrated by his own experience : 

"After my return home I was much buffeted with temp- 
tations, but cried out, and they fled away. They returned 
again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He ' sent 
me help from his holy place.' And herein I found the dif- 
ference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. 
I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might, under the 
law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if 
not often, conquered ; now, I was always conqueror." 

Five days later he writes: " I have constant peace, not one 
uneasy thought; and I have freedom from sin, not one unholy 
desire." Two days after this he adds: "Yet on Wednesday 
did I grieve the Spirit of God, not only by not watching unto 
prayer, but likewise by speaking with sharpness, instead of 
tender love, of one that was not sound in the faith. Imme- 
diately God hid his face, and I was troubled ; and in this 
heaviness I continued till the next morning, June 1, when 
it pleased God, while I was exhorting another, to give com- 
fort to my soul." 


Grace is the source of all blessings to man, and in his fall- 
en condition must be preeminently the source of his salva- 
tion. Faith is its condition. 

I. What faith is it through which we are saved? 

1. Not barely the faith of a heathen in God as moral gov- 

2. Not the intellectual faith' of a devil. 

3. Not barely the faith of the apostles before the resur- 

4. But a faith in Christ, of the heart, in the atonement. 

5. Hence Christian faith is not only an assent to the whole 
gospel of Christ, but also a full reliance on the blood of 
Christ; a trust in the merits of his life, death, and resurrec- 
tion; a recumbency on him as our atonement and our life, <w 


given for us, and living in us. It is a sure confidence which a 
man hath in God, that through the merits of Christ his sins 
are forgiven and he reconciled to the favor of C<>d; and, in 
consequence hereof, a closing with him, and a cleaving to 
him as our "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and re- 
demption," or, in one word, our salvation. 

II. What is the salvation which is through faith? 

1. A present salvation. 

2. From sin. 

3. From guilt. 

4. From fear. 

5. From the power of sin. He that is born of God sin- 
neth not l>y habitual sin, nor by willful sin, nor by sinful) 
desire, nor by infirmities. v 

III. Answer to objections. 

1. Salvation by faith is not opposed to good works, for — 

2. It does not reduce God's law to the limits of human 
weakness, but points out its true spiritual fulfillment. 

3. It does not lead to pride, for it excludes boasting. 

4. It does not encourage in sin, since God's goodness will 
lead all the sincere to repentance. 

5. It drives to despair only of ourselves, that we may find 
salvation in Christ. 

G. It is the doctrine of true comfort. 

7. It is the scriptural foundation doctrine. 

8. It is the effectual antidote to Romanism. 

9. And the true secret of the power of Protestantism. 



PaiAflMD at St. Mabt's, Oxford, before thb Uimuin 
Jums 11, 1738. 

" By grace are ye saved through faith." — Eph. ii. 8. 

1. All the blessings which God hath bestowed upon 
man are of his mere grace, bounty, or favour ; his free, 
undeserved favour ; favour altogether undeserved ; man 
having no claim to the least of his mercies. It was free 
grace that " formed man of the dust of the ground, and 
breathed into him a living soul," and stamped on that 
soul the image of God, and " put all things under his 
feet." The same free grace continues to us, at this day, 
life and breath and all things. For there is nothing we 
are, or have, or do, which can deserve the least thing 
at God's hand. "All our works, thou, God, hast 
wrought in us." These, therefore, are so many more 
instances of free mercy j and whatever righteousness 
may be found in man, this is also the gift of God. 

2. Wherewithal then shall a sinful man atone for 
■my the least of his sins? With his own works ? No. 
Were they ever so many or holy, they are not his own, 
but God's. But indeed they are all unholy and sinful 
themselves, so that every one of them needs a fresh 
atonement. Only corrupt fruit grows on a corrupt tree 
A.nd his heart is altogether corrupt and abominable ; 
being "come short of the glory of God," the glorious 
righteousness at first impressed on his soul after the 
image of his great Creator. Therefore, having nothing, 
neither righteousness nor works, to plead, his mouth is 
utterly stopped before God. 

3. If then sinful men find favour with God, it u 
"grace upon grace!" If God vouchsafe still to poui 



fresh blessings upon us, yea, the greatest of all bless 
ings, salvation ; what can we say to these things, but 
" Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift !" And 
thus it is. Herein " God commendeth his love toward 
us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died" to save 
as. "Bygraee" then "are ye saved through faith." 
3 race is the source, faith the condition of salvation. 

Now, that we fall not short of the grace of God, it 
concerns us carefully to inquire, 

I. What faith it is through which we are saved. 

II. What is the salvation which is through faith. 

III. How we may answer some objections. 

I. What faith it is through which we are saved. 

1 . And, first, it is not barely the faith of a heathen. 
Now God requireth of a heathen to believe " that 

God is; that he is the rewarder of them that diligently 
seek him ;" and that he is to be sought by glorifying 
him as God, by giving him thanks for all things, and 
by a careful practice of moral virtue, of justice, mercy, 
and truth, toward their fellow-creatures. A Greek or 
Roman, therefore, yea, a Scythian or Indian, was 
without excuse if he did not believe thus much : the 
being and attributes of God, a future state of reward 
and punishment, and the obligatory nature of moral 
virtue. For this is barely the faith of a heathen. 

2. Nor, secondly, is it the faith of a devil; though 
this goes much farther than that of a heathen. For 
the devil believes not only that there is a wise and 
powerful God, gracious to reward, and just to punish ; 
but also, that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the 
Saviour of the world. So we find him declaring, in 
express terms, "I know thee who thou art; the Holy 
One of God." (Luke iv. 34.) Nor can we doubt bui 
that unhappy spirit believes all those words which came 
out of the mouth of the Holy One ; yea, and what- 
soever else was written by those holy men of old) of two 
of whom he was compelled to give that glorious testi- 
mony, '* These men are the servants of the mo«t high 
God, who show unto you the way of salvation." Thus 
much, then, the great enemy of God and man believe* 

»*. I.] 8ALV AT/ON BY FAITH. 31 

and trembles in believing, — that God was made mani- 
fest in the flesh ; that he will " tread all enemies under 
his feet ;" and that " all Scripture was given by inspira- 
tion of God." Thus far goeth the faith of a devil 

3 Thirdly. The faith through which we aro saved, 
in that sense of the word which will hereafter be ex 
plained, is not barely that which the apostles them- 
selves had while Christ was yet upon earth; though 
they so believed on him as to " leave all and follow him ;" 
although they had then power to work miraoles, to 
" heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of dis- 
ease ;" yea, they had then " power and authority over 
all devils ;" and, which is beyond all this, were sent by 
their Master to " preach the kingdom of God." 

4. What faith is it, then, through which we are saved ? 
It may be answered, first, in general, it is a faith in 
Christ : Christ, and God through Christ, are the proper 
objects of it. Herein, therefore, it is sufficiently, ab- 
solutely distinguished from the faith either of ancient 
or modern heathens. And from the faith of a devil it is 
fully distinguished by this : it is not barely a speculative, 
rational thing, a cold, lifeless assent, a train of ideas in 
the head ; but also a disposition of the heart. For thus 
with the Scripture, " With the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness;" and, "If thou shalt confess with thy 
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that 
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." 

5. And herein does it differ from that faith which the 
apostles themselves had while our Lord was on earth, 
that it acknowledges the necessity and merit of his death, 
and the power of his resurrection. It acknowledges \is 
death as the only sufficient means of redeeming man 
from death eternal, and his resurrection as the restoration 
of us all to life and immortality ; inasmuch as he " was 
delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justifica- 
tion." Christian faithis, then, not only an assent to the 
whole gospel of Christ, but also a full reliance on the 
blood of Christ ; a trust in the meruTbThis life, death, 
ud resurrection ; a recumbency upon him as our atone- 
■Mat and our life, ns given for '«, and living in us; and 


in consequence hereof, a closing with him, and cleaving 
to him, as our " wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, 
and redemption," or, in one word, our salvation. 

n. What salvation it is which is through this faith, 
ia the second thing to be considered. 

1. And, first, whatsoever else it imply, it is a pre- 
sent salvation. It is something attainable, yea, actually 
attained on earth, by those who are partakers of this 
faith. For thus saith the apostle to the believers at 
Ephesus, and in them to the believers of all ages, not, 
Ye shall be (though that also is true,) but, "Ye are 
taved through faith." 

2. Ye are saved (to comprise all in one word) from 
gin. This is the salvation which is through faith. This 
is that great salvation foretold by the angel, before God 
brought his First-begotten into the world : " Thou 
shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people 
from their sins." And neither here, nor in other parts 
of holy writ, is there any limitation or restriction. All 
his people, or, as it is elsewhere expressed, " all that 
believe in him," he will save from all their sins; from 
original and actual, past and present sin, " of the flesh 
and of the spirit." Through faith that is in him, they 
ire saved both from the guilt and from the power of it. 

3. First, from the guilt of all past sin; for, whereas 
all the world is guilty before God, insomuch that should 
he " be extreme to mark what is done amiss, there is none 
that could abide it;" and whereas, "by the law is" 
only " the knowledge of sin," but no deliverance from 
it, so that, " by" fulfilling " the deeds of the law, no 
flesh can be justified in his sight;" now, "the right 
eousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is 
manifested unto all that believe." Now, "they are 
justified freely by his grace, through the redemption 
that is in Jesus Christ." " Him God hath set forth tc 
be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare hip. 
righteousness for (or by) the remission of the sins that 
are past." Now hath Christ taken away "the curse of 
the law, being made a curse for us." He hath "blotted 
Hit the handwriting that was against us, taking it out of the 


way, nailing it to his cross." " There is therefore no con 
ien.nation now to them which" believe "in Christ Jesus." 

4. And being saved from guilt, they are saved from 
fear. Not indeed from a filial fear of offending ; bul 
from all servile fear ; from that fear which hath torment ; 
from fear of punishment; from fear of the wrath of God, 
whom they now no longer regard as a severe Master, 
but as an indulgent Father. " They have not received 
again the spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption, 
whereby they cry, Abba, Father : the Spirit itself also 
bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the 
children of God." They are also saved from the fear, 
though not from the possibility, of falling away from 
the grace of God, and coming short of the great and 
precious promises. Thus have they " peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." They rejoice in hope 
of the glory of God. And the love of God is shed 
abroad in their hearts, through the Holy Ghost, which 
is given unto them. And hereby they are persuaded, 
(though perhaps not at all times, nor with the same 
fulness of persuasion,) that " neither death, nor life, nor 
things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, 
nor any other creature, shall be able to separate them 
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

5. Again : through this faith they are saved from the 
yowcr of sin, as well as from the guilt of it. So the 
apostle declares, " Ye know that he was manifested to 
take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whoso- 
ever abideth in him sinneth no* '" (1 John iii. 5, &c.) 
Again : " Little children, let no man deceive you. He 
that committeth sin is of the crevil. Whosoever believeth 
is born of God. And whosoever is born of God doth 
not commit sin ; for his seed remaineth in him : and he 
oannot sin, because he is born of God." Once more . 
" We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; 
but he that is begptten of God keepeth himself, and that 
wicked one toueheth him not." (1 John v. 18.) 

6. He that is, by faith, born of God sinneth not 
(1.) By any habitual sin ; for all habitual sin is ail 
reigning : but sin cannot reign in any that belierefth 

B 3 VOL. I. •» 


Nor, (2.) By any wilful sin ; for his will, while he 
abideth in the faith, is utterly set against all sin, and 
abhorreth it as deadly poison. Nor, (3. ) By any sinful 
desire : for he continually desireth the holy and perfect 
will of God ; and any tendency to an unholy desire, he 
by tiie grace of God stifleth in the birth. Nor, (4.) 
Doth he sin by infirmities, whether in act, word, oi 
thought; for his infirmities have no concurrence of his 
will; and without this they are not properly sins. 
Thus, " he that is born of God doth not commit sin ;" 
and though he cannot say, he hath not sinned, yet now 
" he sinneth not." 

7 This then is the salvation which is through faith 
even in the present world : a salvation from sin, and 
the consequences of sin, both often expressed in the 
word justification; which, taken in the largest sense, 
implies a deliverance from guilt and punishment, by the 
atonement of Christ actually applied to the soul of" the 
sinner now believing on him, and a deliverance from 
the power of sin, through Christ formed in his heart. 
So that he who is thus justified, or saved by faith, 
is indeed born again. He is born again of the Spirit 
unto a new life, which " is hid with Christ in God." 
And as a new-born babe he gladly receives the oioXor, 
" sincere milk of the word, and grows thereby ;" going 
on in the might of the Lord his God, from faith to faith, 
from grace to grace, until, at length, he come unto " a 
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the 
tuluess of Christ." 

III. The first usual objection to this is, 

1. That to preach salvation, or justification, by faith 
only, is to preach against holiness and good works. To 
which a short answer might be given : " It would be so, 
if we spake, as foiuc do, of a faith which was separate 
from these; but we speak of a faith which is not so, 
but productive of all good works, and all holiness." 

2. But it may be of use to consider it more at large; 
sepecially since it is no new objectiou, but as old at 
8t. Paul's time : for even then it was asked, " Do we 
not make void the law through faith?" We answer, 


first, All who preach not faith do manifestly make 
void the law ; either directly and grossly, by limitations 
and comments that eat out all the spirit of the text; or, 
indirectly, by not pointing out the only means whereby 
it is possible to perform it. Whereas, secondly, "we 
establish the law," both by showing its full extent and 
spiritual meaning ; and by calling all to that living way, 
whereby " the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled 
in them." These, while they trust in the blood of 
Christ alone, use all the ordinances which he hath 
appointed, do all the " good works which he had before 
prepared that they should walk therein," and enjoy and 
manifest all holy and heavenly tempers, even the same 
mind that was in Christ Jesus. 

3. But does not preaching this faith lead men into 
pride ? We answer, Accidentally it may : therefore 
ought every believer to be earnestly cautioned, in the 
words of the great apostle, " Because of unbelief," the 
first branches " were broken off ; and thou standest by 
faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. If God spared 
not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not 
thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of 
God ! On them which fell, severity ; but towards thee, 
goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise 
thou also shalt be cut off." And while he continues 
therein, he will remember those words of St. Paul, 
foreseeing and answering this very objection, (Rom. 
iii. 27,) " Where is boasting then ? It is excluded. 
By what law ? of works ? Nay : but by the law of 
faith." If a man were justified by his works, he 
would have whereof to glory? But there is no glory- 
ing for him " that worketh not, but believeth on him 
that justifieth the ungodly." (Rom. iv. 5.) To the 
same effect are the words both preceding and following 
the text: (Eph. ii. 4, &c. :) "God, who is rich in 
mercy, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened 
as together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved,) that 
he might show the exceeding riches of hiB grace in his 
kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. For by grace 
ire ye sa red through faith ; and that not of younelven " 


Of yourselves cometh neither your faith nor your salva 
tion : " it is the gift of God ;" the free, undeserved 
gift ; the faith through which ye are saved, as well as 
the salvation which he of his own good pleasure, his 
mere favour, annexes thereto. That ye believe, is one 
instance of his grace : that believing ye are saved, 
eik.ij.ut " Not of works, lest any man should boast." 
For all our works, all our righteousness, which were be- 
fore our believing, merited nothing of God but condem- 
nation ; so far were they from deserving faith, which 
therefore, whenever given, is not of works. Neither 
is. salvation of the works we do when we believe ; for 
it is then God that worketh in us : and therefore, that 
he iriveth us a reward for what he himself worketh, 
only comm^ndcth the riches of his mercy, but leaveth 
us nothing whereof to glory. 

4. However, may not, the speaking thus of the mercy 
of God, as saving or justifying freely by faith only, 
encourage men in sin '( Indeed it may and will : many 
will "continue in sin that grace may abound ;" but 
their blood is upon their own head. The goodness of 
God ought to lead them to repentance ; and so it wil' 
those who are sincere of heart. When they know there 
is yet forgiveness with him, they will cry aloud that he 
would blot out their sins also through faith which is in 
Jesus. And if they earnestly cry, and faint not ; if they 
seek him in all the means he hath appointed ; if they 
refuse to be comforted till he come ; " he will come, and 
will not tarry." And he can do much work in a shor. 
time. Many are the examples, in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles, of God's working this faith in men's hearts, even 
like lightning falling from heaven. So iu the same houi 
that Paul and Silas began to preach, the jailer repented, 
believed and was baptized; as were three thousand by 
8t. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, who all repented 
and believed at his first preaching. And, blessed bo 
God, there are now many living proofs that he is still 
" mighty to save." 

5. Yet to the same truth, placed in another view, a 
■mite contrary objection is made : " If a man cannot t* 


saved by all that he can do, this will drive men tc 
despair." True, to despair of being saved by their own 
works, their own merits, or righteousness. And so it 
ought ; for none can trust in the' merits of Christ, till he 
has utterly renounced his own. He that " goeth about 
to establish his own righteousness" cannot receive the 
righteousness of God. The righteousness which is of 
faith cannot be given him while he trusteth in that 
which is of the law. 

6. But this, it is said, is an uncomfortable doctrine. 
The devil spoke like himself, that is, without cither 
truth or shame, when he dared to suggest to men that 
it is such. It is the only comfortable one, it is " very 
full of comfort," to all self-destroyed, self-condemned 
sinners. That " whosoever believeth on him shall not 
be ashamed: that the same Lord over all is rich unto 
all that call upon him ;" here is comfort, high as heaven, 
stronger than death ! What ? Mercy for all ? For 
Zaccheus, a public robber ? For Mary Magdalene, a 
common harlot? Methinks I hear one say, "Then I, 
even I, may hope for mercy I" And so thou mayest, 
thou afflicted one, whom none hath comforted ! God 
will not cast out thy prayer. Nay, perhaps he may say 
the next hour, " Be of gi.od cheer, thy sins are forgiven 
thee ;" so forgiven, that they shall reign over thee no 
more'; yea, and that " the Holy Spirit shall beai 
witness with thy spirit that thou art a child of God." 
glad tidings ! tidings of great joy, which are sent unto 
all people ! " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters: come ye, and buy, without money and 
without price." Whatsoever your sins be, " though red 
like crimson," though more than the hairs of your head, 
" return ye unto the Lord, and he will hnvc mercy upon 
jou ; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." 

7 When no more objections occur, then we are 
limply told, that salvation by faith only, ought not 
to be preached as the first dpctrine, or, at least, not 
to be preached to all. But what saith the Holy 
GHiost ? " Other foundation can no man lay than thai 
which is laid, even Jesus Christ." So then, that " who 



soever believcth on him shall be saved," is, and must be, 
the foundation of all our preaching; that is. must b« 
preached first. " Well, but not to all." To whom then 
are we not to preach it? Whom shall we except? The 
poor ? Nay j they have a peculiar right to have the 
gospel preached unto them. The unlearned? No. 
God hath revealed these things unto unlearned and 
ignorant men from the beginning. The young ? By 
no means. " Suffer these," in anywise, to come unto 
Christ, " and forbid them not." The sinners ? Least 
of all. " He came not to call the righteous, but sinners 
to reoentance." Why then, if any, we are to except th» 
rich, the learned, the reputable, the moTal men. And, 
it is true, they too often except themselves from hear- 
ing; yet we must speak the words of our Lord. For 
thus the tenor of our commission runs, " Go and preach 
the gospel to every creature." If any man wrest it, or 
any part of it, to his destruction, he must bear his own 
burden. But still, " as the Lord liveth, whatsoever the 
Lord saith unto us, that we will speak." 

8. At this time, more especially, will we speak, that 
" by grace are ye saved through faith :" because, never 
was the maintaining this doctrine more seasonable than 
it is at this day. Nothing but this can effectually pre- 
vent the increase of the Romish delusion among us. It 
is endless to attack, one by one, all the errors of that 
church But salvation by faith strikes at the root, and 
all fall at once where this is established. It was this 
doctrine, which our church justly calls the strong rock 
and foundation of the Christian religion, that first drove 
Popery out of these kingdoms ; and it is this alone can 
keep it out. Nothing but this can give a check to that 
immorality which hath " overspread the land as a flood." 
Can you empty the great deep, drop by drop ? Then 
you may reform us by dissuasives from particular vices 
But let the " righteousness which is of God by faith" 
be brought in, and so shall its proud waves be stayed. 
Nothing but this can stop the mouths of those whe 
" glory in their shame, and openly deny the Lord that 
bought them " They can talk as sublimely of the law. 


as he that hath it written by God in his heart. To heai 
them speak on this head might incline one to think they 
were not far from the kingdom of God : but take them 
-ut of the law into the gospel ; begin with the righteous- 
ness of faith; with Christ, " the end of the law to every 
one that believeth ;" and those who but now appeared 
almost, if not altogether, Christians, stand confessed the 
sons of perdition ; as far from life and salvation (God 
be merciful unto them !) as the depth of hell from the 
height of heaven. 

9. For this reason the adversary so rages whenever 
" salvation by faith" is declared to the world : for this 
reason did he stir up earth and hell, to destroy those 
who first preached it. And for the same reason, know- 
ing that faith alone could overturn the foundations of 
<ris kingdom, did he call forth all his forces, and em- 
ploy all his arts of lies and calumny, to affright 
Martin Luther from reviving it. Nor can we wondei 
chereat ; lor, as that man of God observes, " how 
would it enrage a proud strong man armed to be 
stopped and set at nought by a little child coming 
against him with a reed in his hand !" especially wher 
he knew that little child would surely overthrow 
him, and tread him under foot. Even so, Lord Jesus 
Thus hath thy strength been ever " made perfect in wean • 
ness !" Go forth then, thou little child that believest 
in him, and his " right hand shall teach thee terrible 
things !" Though thou art helpless and weak as aD 
infant of days, the strong man shall not be able to stand 
before thee. Thou shalt prevail over him, and subdue 
him, and overthrow him, and* trample him under thj 
teet. Thou shalt march on, under the great Captain 
of thy salvation, " conquering and to conquer," until all 
thine enemies are destroyed, and " death is swallowed 
up in victory." 

Sow, u thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory 

through our Lord Jesus Christ ;" to whom, with the 

Father and the Holy Ghost, be blessing, and glory, and 

wisdom, and tnanksgiving, and honour, and power, and 

night, for ever and ever Amen, 


Ques. 1. [\ 1). How are the blessings of God bestowed? 

Ques. 2. (T| 1). Has Hum tiny claim upon the Divine favor? 

Ques. 3. (1 2). Can man atone for any of his sins? 

Ques. 4. d\ 2). What is said of the corrupt tree? 

Ques. 5. (1[ 3). How can man find favor with God? 

Ques. 6. (I. 1). What does God require of a heathen? 

Ques. 7. (I. 1). What then is the faith of a heathen? 

Ques. 8. (I. 2). What is, the faith of a devil ? 

Ques. 9. (1. 3). What was the faith of the apostles before 
the crucifixion? 

Ques. 10. (I. 4). What is the faith through which we are 
saved ? 

Ques. 11. (I. 4). How docs it differ from the faith of a 
heathen? of a devil ? 

Ques. 12. (I. 5). How does this faith differ from that 
which the apostles had while our Lord was on eartli ? 

Ques. 13. (I. 5). How is Christian faitli defined? 

Ques. 14. (II. 1). What is the salvation which comes 
through faith? 

Ques. 15. (II. 2). What salvation was foretold by the 
angel ? 

Ques. 16. (II. 3). How is this salvation first manifested? 

Ques. 17. (II. 4). What follows salvation from guilt? 

Ques. 18. (II. 5). Are we saved from the power of sin also? 

Ques. 19. (II. G). How is this salvation defined? What 
is said of habitual sin? of willful sin? of sinful desires? of 

Ques. 20. (II. 7). What is this salvation otherwise called? 




Ques. 21. (III. 1). What is the first objection to this doc- 

Ques. 22. (III. 2). Is this salvation opposed to holiness? 

Ques. 23. (III. 3). Does it tend to produce pride? Ought 
it to do so? 

Ques. 24. (III. 4). Does it encourage men in sin? 

Ques. 25. (III. 5). Does it drive men into despair? 

Ques. 26. (III. 6). Is it an uncomfortable doctrine? 

Ques. 27. (III. 7). What if said when no more objections 
are offered ? 

Ques. 28. (III. 8). What is said of the Romish delusion? 
How has Mr. Wesley's view been verified? Am. By the 
rise and prevalence of the Tractarian Controversy in Oxford, 
resulting in the secession of many persons to the Church of 
Home some fifty years ago. 

Ques. 29. (III. 9). How does the adversary oppose this 


This sermon was preached in London about a month be- 
fore it was delivered in Oxford. The type of character de- 
cribed is not confined to times or places. Doubtless the 
early Oxford Methodists presented the very best phase of 
the "Almost Christian " life. Sincerity, zeal, scrupulous at- 
tendance upon ordinances, unwearied diligence in the dis- 
charge of every duty, had combined to form the character 
which was named " Methodist " in derision. Notwithstand- 
ing all this, the preacher in this sermon declares that all 
these qualities belonged only to the "Almost Christian." 
Without the soul of true godliness this form of piety was 
destitute of power. That he did not overlook the elements 
of genuine religion to be found in the character here pre- 
sented is evident from Mr. Wesley's ninth sermon, where 
this same legality is contrasted with natural enmity and in- 
difference. Nothing could mark more decidedly his sense 
of the supreme importance of the crisis known as conver- 
sion, than the fact that he here makes all antecedent grace 
avail nothing without that crowning experience which trans- 
forms the almost into the altogether Christian. 

I lis appeal to his hearers, in recalling his own experience 
among them, is characteristic of the preacher. lie shows 
himself to lie utterly destitute of that pride of opinion, 
that false consistency, that causes a man to adhere to wrens, 
simply because be has once committed himself to it. He 
can speak of himself as if it were another man, and use his 
own example to caution his hearers against error. There 
are phases of self-condemnation vcrv different from this. 
Some recently converted men have emphasized their wick- 
ed career, and in some instances magnified it, in order to 



make the contrast with their present state stronger and more 
striking. This is a dangerous if not a censurable practice. 
The glaring sins of this life, if they need be mentioned at 
all by a converted man, should be alluded to with profound 
sorrow and a feeling of self-abasement very far from any 
species of boasting. To do otherwise is to run the risk of 
creating an impression very far removed from that which is 
designed. The hearer may not feel a sentiment of gratitude 
for the rescue of a great sinner, but a doubt as to the genu- 
ineness of the purpose and the reality of the change. 

In Mr. Wesley's case, the allusions to his own experience 
are pertinent, and are made in a spiritof true humility, where- 
as the matter with which he charges himself was an effort 
to serve God in a manner that excelled the highest profes- 
sions of many who listened to his discourse. This contrast 
is striking. If his zeal and conscientiousness fell short of 
the mark, what must have been the condemnation of those 
who cared for none of those things that constitute a true 
Christian life? 

This sermon presents us with the outlines of the " Gener- 
al Kules of the United Societies," which were published 
early in 1743, nsarly two years after the delivery of this dis- 


I. What is implied in being almost a Christian? 

1. Heathen honesty, including justice, truth, and love. 

2. The form of godliness; in abstaining from outward 
sins, doing good even to labor and suffering, and using the 
means of grace publicly, in his family, and privately. 

3. Sincerity, or a real design to* serve God. 

II. What is implied in being altogether a Christian? 

1. Love to God. 

2. Love to our neighbor. 

3. Faith; not dead, speculative faith, but that which as' 
sures of forgiveness of sins, and is followed by r loving heart, 
keeping'God's commandments. 



Pmaomd at St. Mart's, Oxford, bkforb tbb Univikuti 
July 25, 1741. 

" thov periuadest me to be a Christian." — Acts xxvi. 28. 

And many there are who go thus far : ever since the 
Christian religion was in the world, there have been 
many in every age and nation, who were almost per- 
vaded to be Christians. But, seeing it avails nothing 
before God to go only thus far, it highly imports us to 

First, What is implied in being almost, 
Secondly, What in being altogether, a Christian. 

1. (I.) I. Now, in the being almost a Christian, u 
i iii plied, first, heathen honesty. No one, I suppose, 
will make any question of this : especially, since by hea- 
then honesty here I mean, uot that which is recom- 
mended in the writings of their philosophers only, but 
such as the common heathens expected one of another, 
and many of them actually practised. By the rules of 
this they were taught, that they ought not to be unjust; 
not to take away their neighbour's goods, either by 
robbery or theft ; not to oppress the poor, neither to 
use extortion toward any ; not to cheat or overreach 
uiiher the poor or rich, in whatsoever commerce they 
had with them ; to defraud no man of his right ; and, 
d it were possible, to owe no man any thing. 

2. Again : the common heathens allowed, that some 
regard was to be paid to truth, as well as to justice 
And, accordingly, they uot only held him in abomination 
who was forsworn, who called Cod to witness to a lie 


but him also who was known to be a slanderer of his 
neighbour, who falsely accused any man. And, indeed, 
little better did they esteem wilful liars of any sort : 
accounting them the disgrace of human kind, and the 
pests of society. 

3. Yet again : there was a sort of love and assistance 
which they expected one from another. They expected 
whatever assistance any one could give another, without 
piejudice to himself. And this they extended not only 
*o those little offices of humanity which are performed 
without any expense or labour, but likewise to the 
feeding the hungry, if they had food to spare ; tht 
clothing the naked with their own superfluous raiment, 
and in general, the giving to any that needed, such 
things as they needed not themselves. Thus far, in the 
lowest account of it, heathen honesty went ; the first 
thing implied in the being almost a Christian. 

(II.) 4. A second thing implied in the being almost 
a Christian is, the having a form of godliness ; of that 
godliness which is prescribed in the gospel of Christ ; 
the having the outside of a real Christian. Accordingly, 
the almost Christian does nothing which the gospel 
forbids. He taketh not the name of God in vain ; he 
blesseth, and curseth not ; he sweareth not at all, but his 
communication is, yea, yea; nay, nay. He profanes 
not the day of the Lord, nor suffers it to be profaned, 
even by the stranger that is within his gates. He not 
only avoids all actual adultery, fornication, and unclean 
ness, but every word or look that either directly or ir. 
directly tends thereto ; nay, and all idle words, ab- 
staining both from detraction, backbiting, tale-bearing, 
evil-speaking, and from " all foolish talking and jesting," 
— ftrpcMcMu, a kind of virtue in the heathen moralist's 
account; — briefly, from all conversation that is not 
" good to the us? of edifying," and that, consequently, 
" grieves the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are Healed 
to the day of redemption." 

5. He abstains from "wine wherein is excess;" from 

revellings an* 1 gluttony He avoids, as much as in hinr 

i.— c 


lies, all strife and contention, continually endeavouring 
to live peaceably with all men. And, if he suffer wrong, 
he ayengeth not himself, neither returns evil for evil. 
He is no railcr, no brawler, no scoffer, either at the 
faults or infirmities of his neighbour. He does not 
willingly wrong, hurt, or grieve auy man ; but in all 
things acts and speaks by that plain rule, "Whatsoever 
thou wouldest not he should do unto thee, that do not 
thou to another." 

6. And in doing good, he does not confine himself to 
cheap and easy offices of kindness, but labours and 
suffers for the profit of many, that by all means he may 
help some. In spite of toil or pain, " whatsoever his 
hand findcth to do, he doeth it with his might;" whether 
it be for his friends, or for his enemies; for the evil, or 
for the good. For, being " not slothful" in this, or in 
any " business," as he " hath opportunity" he doeth 
" good," all manner of good, "to all men;" and to their 
souls as well as their bodies. He reproves the wicked, 
instructs the ignorant, confirms the wavering, quickens 
the good, and comforts the afflicted. He labours to 
awaken those that sleep ; to lead those whom God hath 
already awakened to the " Fountain opened for sin and 
for uncleanness," that they may wash therein and be 
clean ; and to stir up those who are saved through 
faith, to adorn the gospel of Christ in all things. 

7 He that hath the form of godliness uses also the 
means of grace ; yea, all of them, and at all opportuni- 
ties. He constantly frequents the house of God; 
and that, not as the manner of some is, who come into 
the presence of the Most High, either loaded with gold 
and costly apparel, or in all the gaudy vanity of dress, 
and either by their unseasonable civilities to each other, 
or the impertinent gayety of their behaviour, disclaim 
all pretensions to the form as well as to the power of 
godliness. Would to God there were none even among 
ourselves who fall under the same condemnation 1 who 
lome into this house, it may be, gazing about, or with 
til the signs of the most listless, careless indifference 


though sometimes they may seem to use a prayei to God 
for his blessing on what they are entering upon ; who, 
during that awful service, are either asleep, or reclined 
in the most convenient posture for it ; or, as though 
they supposed God was asleep, talking with one another, 
or looking round, as utterly void of employment. Nei- 
ther let these be accused of the form of godliness. No; 
he who has even this, behaves with seriousness and 
attention, in every part of that solemn service. More 
especially, when he approaches the table of the Lord, il 
is not with a light or careless behaviour, but with an 
air, gesture, and deportment, which speak nothing else 
but, " God be merciful to me a sinner I" 

8. To this, if we add the constant use of family prayer, 
by those who are masters of families, and the setting 
times apart for private addresses to God, with a daily 
seriousness of behaviour; he who uniformly practises 
this outward religion, has the form of godliness. There 
needs but one thing more in order to his being almost 
a Christvui, and that is sincerity. 

(III.) 9. By sincerity I mean, a real, inward prin 
ciple of religion, from whence these outward actions 
flow. And, indeed, if we have not this, we have not 
heathen honesty ; no, not so much of it as will answer 
the demand of a heathen Epicurean poet. Even this 
poor wretch, in his sober intervals, is able to testify, 

Odcrunt peccare boni, virtutis amore ; 
Oderunt peccare mali, formidine poena.* 

So that, if a man only abstains from doing evil in ordei 
to avoid punishment, Nbn pasces>in cruce corvos,f saitb 
the pagan : there, "thou hast thy reward." But even 
he will not allow such a harmless man as this to be so 
much as a good heathen. If then any man, from thf 
lame motive, viz., to avoid punishment, to avoid tb« 

* "Good men avoid sin from the lov j of virtue; 

Wicked men avoid sin from a f »ir of punishment* 
f " Thou shalt not be hanged." 


Ions of b.s friends, or his gain, or his reputation, should 
uot only abstain from doing evil, but also do ever so 
much good ; yea, and use all the means of grace ; yet 
we could not with any propriety say, this man is even 
almost a Christian ! If he has no better principle in 
his heart, he is only a hypocrite altogether. 

10. Sincerity, therefore, is necessarily implied in th« 
being almost a Christian ; a real design to serve God, a 
hearty desire to do his will. It is necessarily implied, 
that a man have a sincere view of pleasing God in all 
things ; in all his conversation ; in all his actions ; in 
all he does, or leaves undone. This design, if any man 
be almost a Christian, runs through the whole tenor of 
his life. This is the moving principle, both in his doing 
good, his abstaining from evil, and his using the ordi- 
nances of God. 

11. But here it will probably be inquired, "Is it 
possible that any man living should go so far as this, 
and, nevertheless, be only almost a Christian t What 
more than this c;m be implied in the being a Christian 
altojether f" I answer, first, that it is possible to go 
thus far, and yet be but almost a Christian, I learn, not 
only from the oracles of God, but also from the sure 
testimony of experience. 

12. Brethren, great is " my boldness towards you in 
:liis behalf." And "forgive me this wrong," if I de- 
clare my own folly upon the housetop, for yours and 
the gospel's sake. Suffer me then to speak freely of 
myself, even as of another man. I am content to bo 

based, so ye may be exalted, and to be yet more vilo 
/or the glory of my Lord. 

13. 1 did go thus far for many years, as many of 
this place can testify ; using diligence to eschew all evil, 
and to have a conscience void of offence ; redeeming 
the time ; buying up every opportunity of uoing all 
good to all men ; constantly aud carefully using all tbl 
public and all the private means of grace ; endeavoui- 
ing after a steady seriousness of behaviour, at all timet 
uid in ail places ; and, God is my record, before whom 


I stand, doing all this in sincerity ; a real dc- 
■ign to serve God ; a hearty desire to do his will in all 
things; to please him who had called me to "fight the 
good fight," and to "Jay hold on eternal life." Yetmj 
own conscience bcareth me witness in the Holy Ghost, 
that all this time I was but almost a Christian. 

II. If it be inquired, " What more than this is im 
plied in the being altogether a Christian ?" I answer, 

(I.) 1. First, The iove of God. For thus saith his 
word, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and 
with all thy strength." Such a love is this as engrossos 
the whole heart, as takes up all the affections, as fills 
the entire capacity of the soul, and employs the utmost 
extent of all its faculties. He that thus loves the Lord 
his God, his spirit continually " rejoiceth in God his 
Saviour." His delight is in the Lord, his Lord and hie 
All, to whom " in every thing he giveth thanks. All 
his desire is unto God, and to the remembrance of his 
name." His heart is ever crying out, " Whom have I 
in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that 
I desire beside thee." Indeed, what can he desire be- 
side God ? Not the world, or the things of the world : 
for he is " crucified to the world, and the world cruci- 
fied to him." He is crucified to " the desire of the flesh, 
the desire of the eye, and the pride of life." Yea, he is 
dead to pride of every kind : for " love is not puffed 
up;" but "he that dwelling in love, dwelleth in God, 
and God in him," is less than nothing in his own eyes. 

(II.) 2. The second thing implied in the being altoge- 
ther a Christian, is, the love of bur neighbour. For thus 
said our Lord, in the following words, "Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." If any man ask, " Who is 
my neighbour 1" we reply, Every man in the world ; 
every child of His who is the Father of the spirits of all 
flesh. Nor may we in any wise except our enemies, or 
the enemies of God and their own souls. But every 
Christian loveth these also as himself, yea, " as Christ 
loved us." He that would more fully understand what 
• 4 C VOL. I. «2 


manner of love this is, may consider St Paul's de- 
scription of it. It is " long-suffering and kind." It 
" euvieth not." It is not rash or hasty in judging. It 
" is not puffed up ;" but maketh him that loves, the least, 
the servant, of all. Love " doth not behave itself un- 
seemly ;" but becometh "all things to all men." She 
'* secketh not her own ;" but only the good of others, 
that they maybe saved. " Love is not provoked." It 
oasteth out wrath, which he who hath is wanting in lova 
•' It thinketh no evil. It rejoiceth not in iniquity, bu< 
rejoiceth in the truth. It covereth all things, believeth 
all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 

(III.) 3. There is yet one thing more that may be 
separately considered, though it cannot actually be se- 
parate from the preceding, which is implied in the being 
altoyether a Christian ; and that is the ground of all, 
even faith. Very excellent things are spoken of this 
throughout the oracles of God. " Every one," saith 
the beloved disciple, " that believeth is born of God." 
" To as many as received him gave he power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 
And " this is the victory that overcometh the world, 
even our faith." Yea, our Lord himself declares, "He 
that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life j and 
comcth not into condemnation, but is passed from death 
unto life." 

4. But hare let no man deceive his own soul. " It 
is diligently to be noted, the faith which bringeth not 
forth repentance, and love, and all good works, is noi 
that right living faith, but a dead and devilish one 
For, even the devils believe that Christ was born of a 
virgin ; that he wrought all kinds of miracles, declaring 
himself very God ; that, for our sakes, he suffered a 
most painful death, to redeem us from death everlastr 
ing; that he rose again the third day; that he ascended 
into heaven ; and sitteth at the right hand of the Fa- 
ther, and at the cud of the world shall come again to 
judge both the quick and dead. These articles of cui 
faith the devils believe, and so thoy believe all that u 


written in the Old and New Testament. And jet foi 
all this faith, they be but devils. They remain still iD 
their damnable estate, lacking the very true Christian 

5. " The right and true Christian faith is," (to go on 
in the words of our own Church,) " not only to believe 
that holy Scripture and the Articles of our Faith are 
true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence to be 
saved from everlasting damnation by Christ. It is a 
Buro trust and confidence which a man bath in God, 
that, by the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and 
he reconciled to the favour of God ; whereof doth follow 
a loving heart, to obey his commandments." 

6. Now, whosoever hath this faith, which " purifies 
the heart" (by the power of God, who dwelleth therein) 
from pride, anger, desire, " from all unrighteousness," 
from " all filthiness of flesh and spirit ;" which fills it 
with love stronger than death, both to God and to all 
mankind ; love that doeth the works of God, glorying 
to spend and to be spent for all men, and that endurcth 
with joy, not only the reproach of Christ, the being 
mocked, despised, and hated of all men, but whatsoever 
l he wisdom of God permits the malice of men or devils 
(o inflict; — whosoever has this faith, thus working by 
love, is not almost only, but altogether, a Christian. 

7. But who are the living witnesses of these things ? 
1 beseech you, brethren, as in the presence of that God 
before whom " hell and destruction are without a cover- 
ing, — how much more the hearts of uhe children of 
men!" — that each of you would ask his own heart, 
" Am I of that number ? Do* I so far practise justice, 
mercy and truth, as even the rules of heathen honesty 
require ? If so, have I the very outside of a Christian ? 
the form of godliness ? Do I abstain from evil, — from 
whatsoever is forbidden in the written word of God? 
Do I, whatever good my hand flndcth to do, do it with 
ruy might ? Do I seriously use all the ordinances of 

* Homily on th« Sal ration >f Man. 


God at all opportunities? And is all this done with a 
sincere design and desire to please God in all things ?" 

8. Are not many of you conscious that you nevei 
came thus far; that you have not been even almost a 
Christian ; that you have not come up to the standard 
of heathen honesty; at least, not to the form of Christian 
godliness ? — much less hath God seen sincerity in you, 
x real design of pleasing him in all things. You never 
so much as intended to devote all your words and works, 
your business, studies, diversions, to his glory. You 
never even designed or desired that whatsoever you did 
should be done " in the name of the Lord Jesus," and 
as such should be " a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to 
God through Christ." 

9. But, supposing you had, do good desigus and 
good desires make a Christian ? By no means, uuless 
they are brought to good effect. " Hell is paved," saith 
jue, " with good intentions." The great question of 
all, then, still remains. Is the love of God shed abroad 
in your heart? Can you cry out, " My God, and my 
All ?" Do you desire nothing but him ? Are you 
happy in God? Is he your glory, your delight, your 
crown of rejoicing? And is this commandment written 
in your heart, "That he who lovcth God, love his bro- 
ther also?" Do you then love your neighbour a? 
yourself? Do you love every man, even your enemies, 
even the enemies of God, as your own soul ? as Christ 
loved you ? Yea, dost thou believe that Christ loved 
thoc, and gave himself for thee ? Hast thou faith in 
his blood? Believest thou the Lamb of God hath taken 
away thy sins, and east them as a stone into the depth 
of the sea ? that he hath blotted out the handwriting 
that was against thee, taking it out of the way, nailing 
it to his cross? Hast thou indeed redemption through 
his blood, even the remission of thy sins ? And doth 
bis Spirit bear witness with thy spirit, that thou art a 
child of God ? 

10. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who now staudeth in the midst of us, knoweth, that i/ 


my man die without this faith and this love, good it 
were for him that he had never been born. Awake, then, 
thou that sleepest, and call upon thy God : call in the 
day when he may be found. Let him not rest, till he 
make his "goodness to pass before thee;" till ho proclaim 
unto thee the name of the Lord, " The Lord, the Lord 
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant 
in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, 
forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin." Let no 
man persuade thee, by vain words, to rest short of this 
prize of thy high calling. But cry unto him day and 
night, who, " while we were without strength, died foi 
the ungodly," until thou knowest in whom thou hast 
believed, and canst say, " My Lord and my God !" 
Remember, " always to pray, and not to faint," till thou 
also canst lift up thy hand unto heaven, and declare to 
him that liveth for ever and ever, " Lord, thou knowest 
all things, thou knowest that I love thee." 

11. May we all thus experience what it is to be, not 
almost only, but altogether Christians ; being justified 
freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in 
Jesus ; knowing we have peace with God through Jesus 
Christ; rejoicing in hope of the glory of Qod ; and 
having the love of God shed abroad ' in our hearts, bj 
the Holy Ghost given unto us ! 


Ques. 1. (I. 1.) What is implied in being almost a Chris- 

Ques. 2. (I. 1.) What is meant by heathen honesty? 

Ques. 3. (I. 1.) Did any of them practice this? Can you 
mention an instance ? 

Qnes. 4. (I. 2.) Did they teach regard for truth? 

Ques. 5. (I. 3.) Did they love and assist each other? 

Ques. G. (II. 4.) What is the second thing implied in be- 
ing an almost Christian? 

Qnes. 7. (II. 5.) What is said of temperance? 

Qnes. 8. (II fi.) What is said of his doing good? 

Ques. 9. (II. 7.) Dues lie use the means of grace? 

Ques. 10. (II. 8.) What other duties does he perform? 

Ques. 11. (III. 9.) What is meant by sincerity? 

Ques. 12. (III. 10.) In what is sincerity necessarily im- 

Ques. 13. (III. 11.) Can one go as far as this, and still be 
only an almost Christian? 

Ques. 14. (III. 12.) What docs he say of himself? 

Ques. lo. (III. 13.) How docs he appeal to bis hearers as 

Ques. 10. (II. 1.) What more is implied in being altogether 
a Christian? 

Que*. 17. (II. 2.) What is the second thing? 

Ques. 18. (III. 3.) What else is included? 

Ques. 19. (III. 4.) What is said of the relation of faith to 
good works? 

Ques. 20. (III. 5.) What Church does he mean? 



Ques. 21. (III. 5.) From what book is this quotation taken? 
Ans. From the " Book of Homilies," a series of sermons pre- 
pared by Archbishop Cranmer and others. These sermons, 
owing to the small number of competent preachers, were read 
publicly in the churches during the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth and her successors. They form the standards of doctrine 
in connection with the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of 

Ques. 22. (III. 6.) What is the effect of true faith? 

Ques. 23. (III. 7.) Are there any living witnesses of these 

Ques. 24. (III. 8 ) What appeal does he make? 

Ques 25. (III. 10, 11.) How does the sermon conclode? 


This sermon was preached by Charles Wesley before the 
University of Oxford. His biographer says, "It is doubt- 
ful whether any sermon in the English language, or in any 
language whatever, has passed through so many editions, or 
has been a means of so much spiritual good." The close ob- 
server will see a remarkable likeness to the style of John 
Wesley, and at the same time several points of unlikeness. 
In both the sentences are short, clear, and strongly expressed. 
There is no superfluity of words, no redundancies of any 
kind. John Wesley especially is noted for the plainness 
of his speech. No person, even among the uneducated, can 
fail to understand his meaning. In this respect the broth- 
ers agreed, and by their agreement opposed the literary 
style prevalent in their day. Affected language, Latin words 
introduced where English words would have expressed the 
full meaning; the choice of long, difficult, and rare words of 
classical origin, and frequently used in senses they were not 
intended to express; high-flown and florid diction, inter- 
larded with many quotations from Latin and Greek "hard 
to be understood" by the common people — these were the 
faults of style in the eighteenth century. The Wesleys 
learned, from their attendance upon the prisons and among 
the sick and poor of Oxford, to discard this pompous style 
of preaching and writing. As their only motive was to do 
good, and to do good first to those who needed it most, the 
poor and the neglected "lost sheep" of Israel, this simple 


style of writing and speaking brought them into favor with 
the masses of the people. At the same time, by the atten- 
tion given by the Wesleys to logic as a science to be studied 
and practiced, they became thoroughly qualified to defend 
the doctrines they taught. In this sermon the preacher 
shows a greater amount of poetic diction than was usual in 
the writings of his brother. But the same great truths were 
common to both: Repentance toward God, faith in our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Ghost. 


I. The sleepers described. 

1. That state of natural insensibility, darkness, deceptive 
peace, and self-satisfaction, whether of the outwardly vi- 
cious, or of the good-natured professor of the religion of his 
fathers, or of the orthodox Pharisee, who has a form of godli- 
ness but denies its powar. 

2. However highly this estate may be esteemed by men, 
it is denounced by Christ. It is a state of death, of insen- 
sibility to spiritual things, in which the Spirit of God nei- 
ther comforts, nor convinces of sin. 

II. The exhortation enforced. 

By the threatenings of God's word. By the responsibility 
of eternity and judgment. By the soul's want of the in- 
dwelling Spirit, the absence of the inward change, and of a 
good reason for hope of salvation. 

III. Exposition of the promise. 

God is light. By faith we receive his Spirit, through 
which we "know the things that are freely given to us of 
God." This experimental knowledge through the Spirit of 
truth is alone true Christianity. This conscious commun- 
ion of the Holy Ghost is the doctrine of the English Church. 
Lamenting the overspreading iniquity of the land and of 
the University, the preacher concludes with a solemn ap 
peal to God and to his congregation. 




8itt of Oxford. 

" Awake, thou that tleepeit, and arise from the dead, and Chritt 
shall give thee light." — Ephkb. v. 14. 

In discoursing on these words, I shall, with the help 
i»f God, 

First, Describe the sleepers, to whom they are spoken : 

Secondly, Enforce the exhortation, " Awake thou 
that sleepest, and arise from the d^ad:" and, 

Thirdly, Explain the promise made to such as do 
awake and arise : " Christ shall give thee light." 

1. 1. And first, as to the sleepers here spoken to. 
By sleep is signified the natural state of man; that 
deep sleep of the soul, into which the sin of Adam hath 
cast all who spring from his loins: that supineness, in- 
dolence, and stupidity, that insensibility of his real con- 
dition, wherein every man comes into the world, and 
continues till the voice of God awakes him. 

2. Now, " they that sleep, sleep in the night." The 
state of nature is a state of utter darkness; a state 
wherein " darkness covers the earth, and gross darknesp 
the people." The poor unawakened sinner, how much 
knowledge soever he may have as to other things, has 
no knowledge of himself: in this respect, " he knoweth 
nothing yet as he ought to know." He knows not that 
he is a fallen spirit, whose only business in the present 
world is, to recover from his fall, to regain that image 
of God wherein he was created. He sees no necessity 
for the one thing needful, even that inward universal 
shange, that " birth from above," figured out by bap- 
turn, which is the beginning of that total renovation, 


that sanctification of spirit, soul, and body, " without 
which no man shall see the Lord." 

3. Full of all diseases as he is, he fancies himself in 
perfect health. Fast bound in misery and iron, he 
dreams that he is at liberty. He says, " Peace 1 Peace !" 
while the devil, as " a strong man armed," is in full pos- 
session of his soul. He sleeps on still, and takes his 
rest, though hell is moved from beneath to meet him ; 
though the pit, from whence there is no return, hath 
opened its mouth to swallow him up. A fire is kindled 
around him, yet he knoweth it not ; yea, it burns him, 
yet he lays it not to heart. 

4. By one who sleeps, we are, therefore, to under 
stand (and would to God we might all understand it !) 
a sinner satisfied in his sins; contented to remain in 
his fallen state, to live and die without the image of 
God ; one who is ignorant both of his disease, and of 
the only remedy for it ; one who never was warned, or 
never regarded the warning voice of God, "to flee from 
the wrath to come;" one that never yet saw he was in 
danger of hell-fire, or cried out in the earnestness of his 
soul, " What must I do to be saved 1" 

5. If this sleeper be not outwardly vicious, his sleep 
is usually the deepest of all : whether he be of the La- 
odicean spirit, " neither cold nor hot," but a quiet, ra- 
tional, inoffensive, good-natured professor of the religion 
of his fathers ; or whether he be zealous and orthodox, 
and, "after the most straitest sect of our religion," live 
" a Pharisee ;" that is, according to the scriptural ac- 
count, one that justifies himself; one that labours to 
establish his own righteousness, as the ground of hi? 
acceptance with God. 

6. This is he, who, " having a form of godliness, do 
nies the power thereof;" yea, and probably reviles \\ 
wheresoever it is found, as mere extravagance and de- 
lusion. Meanwhile, the wretched self-deceiver thanki 
God, that he is " not as other men are ; adulterers, un- 
just, extortioners:" no, he doeth no wrong to any man 
He " fasts twice in a week," uses all the means of grace, 


ih constant at church and sacrament; yea, and " givei 
tithes of all that he has ;" docs all the good that he can ; 
" touching the righteousness of the law," he is " blame- 
less :" he wants nothing of godliness, but 'he power; 
nothing of religion, but the spirit; nothing of Chris- 
tianity, but the truth, and the life. 

7. But know ye not, that, however highly esteemed 
timong men such a Christian as this may be, he is an 
abomination in the sight of God, and an heir of every 
wo which the Son of God, yesterday, to-day, and for 
ever, denounces against " scribes and Pharisees, hypo- 
crites ?" He hath " made clean the outside of the cup 
and the platter," but within is full of all filthiness. " An 
evil disease cleaveth still unto him, so that his inward 
parts are very wickedness." Our Lord fitly compares 
1\m to a " painted sepulchre," which " appears beautiful 
without ;" but, nevertheless, is " full of dead men's 
^ones, and of all uncleanness." The bones indeed are 
qo longer dry ; the sinews and flesh are come upon 
'.hem, and the skin covers them above : but there is no 
breath in them, no Spirit of the living God. And, "if 
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of 
his." " Ye are Christ's, if so be that the Spirit of God 
dwell in you :" but if not, God knoweth that ye abide 
in death, even until now. 

8. This is another character of the sleeper here spoken 
to. He abides in death, though he knows it not. He 
is dead unto God, "dead in trespasses and sins." For, 
" to be carnally minded is death." Even as it is writ- 
ten, " By one man sin entered into the world, and death 
by sin ; and so death passed upon all men ;" not onl] 
temporal death, but likewise spiritual and eternal. " Ii 
that day that thou eatest," said God to Adam, " the 
ghalt surely die :" not bodily, (unless as he then became 
mortal,) but spiritually : thou shalt lose the life of thy 
»oul ; thou shalt die to God ; shalt be separated from 
dim, thy essential life and happiness. 

9. Thus first was dissolved the vital union of oui 
a)u1 with God ; insomuch that " in the mid*t of" natr 


ral "life, wc arc" now "in" spiritual " death " And 
hcreim we remain till the Second Adam becomes a quick- 
ening Spirit to us ; till he raises the dead, the dead in 
sin, in pleasure, riches, or honours But, before any dead 
soul can live, he " hears" (hearkens to) " the voice of 
the Son of God :" he is made sensible of his lost estate, 
and receives the sentence of death iu himself. He 
knows himself to be "dead while he liveth ;" dead to 
God, and all the things of God; having no more power 
to perform the actions of a living Christian, than a dca'* 
body to perform the functions of a living man. 

10. And most certain it is, that one dead in sin has 
not " senses exercised to discern spiritual good and evil." 
" Having eyes, he sees not ; ho hath ears, and heara 
not." He doth nut " taste and see that the Lord is 
gracious " He " hath not seen God at any time," nor 
" heard nis voice," nor " handled the word of life." In 
vain is the name of Jesus " like ointment poured forth, 
and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia." 
The soul that sleepeth in death hath no perception of 
any objects of this kind. His heart is " pasi feeling," 
and understandeth none of these things. 

11. And hence, having no spiritual senses, no inlets 
of spiritual knowledge, the natural man receivcth not 
the things of the Spirit of God; nay, he is so far from 
receiving them, that whatsoever is spiritually discerned 
is mere foolishness unto him. ^He is not content with 
being utterly ignorant of spiritual things, but he denies 
the very existence of them. And spiritual sensation 
itself is to him the foolishness of folly. " How," saith 
be, "can these things be? Ilow can any man knnu 
that he is alive to God ?" Even as you know that your 
body is now alivi . Faith is the life of the soul ; and if 
ye have this life abiding in you, ye want no marks to 
evidence it to yourself, but t%iyx°i n^v/iaroj, that di- 
vine consciousness, that witness of God, which is more 
rod greater than ten thousand human witnesses. 

12. If he doth not now bear witness with thy spirit, 
that thou art a child of God, that he might cod vise* 

• L— D 


thee, ihou poor unawakened sinner, by his demonstration 
and power, that thou art a child of the devil ! O that, 
us I prophesy, there might now be " a noise and a shak- 
ing ;" and may " the bones come together, bone to his 
bone !" Then " come from the four winds, Breath 1 
and breathe on these slain, that they may live !" And 
do not ye harden your hearts, and resist the Holy Ghost, 
who even now is come to convince you of sin, " because 
you believe not on the name of the only begotten Son 
of God." 

II. 1. Wherefore, "awake thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead." God calleth thee now by mj 
mouth ; and bids thee know thyself, thou fallen spirit, 
thy true state and only concern below. " What meanest 
thou, O sleeper ? Arise ! Call upon thy God, if so be 
thy God will think upon thee, that thou perish not." A 
mighty tempest is stirred up round about thee, and thou 
art sinking into the depths of perdition, the gulf of 
God's judgments. If thou wouldest escape them, cast 
thyself into them. "Judge thyself, and thou shaltnot 
be judged of the Lord." 

2. Awake, awake! Stand up this moment, lest thou 
" drink at the Lord's hand the cup of his fury." Stir up 
thyself to lay hold on the Lord, the Lord thy righteous- 
ness, mighty to save ! " Shake thyself from the dust." 
A.t least, let the earthquake of God's threatenings shake 
thee. Awake, and cry out with the trembling jailer, 
" What must I do to be saved 1" And never rest till 
thou believest on the Lord Jesus, with a faith which it 
his gift, by the operation of his Spirit. 

3. If I speak to any one of you, more than to another, 
it is to thee, who thinkest thyself unconcerned in 
this exhortation. " I have a message from God unto 
thee." In his name, I warn thee " to flee from the 
wrath to come." Thou unholy soul, sec thy picture in 
condemned Peter, lying in the dark dungeon, between 
the soldiers, bound with two chains, the keepers before 
the door keeping the prison. The night is far spent, the 
aiorning is at hand, when thou art to be brought fortb 


to execution. And in these dreadful circumstance! 
ihou art fast asleep ; thou art fast asleep in the devil'* 
arms, on the brink of the pit, in the jaws of everlast- 
ing destruction ! 

4. may the angel of the Lord come upon thee, 
and the light shine into thy prison ! And mayest thou 
feel the stroke of an Almighty Hand, raising thee, with, 
" Arise up quickly, gird thyself, and bind on thy san 
dais, cast thy garment about thoe, and follow me." 

5. Awake thou everlasting spirit, out of thy dream 
of worldly happiness ! Did not God create thee for him 
self? Then thou canst not rest till thou restest in him. 
Return, thou wanderer ! Fly back to thy ark. This is 
not thy home. Think not of building tabernacles here. 
Thou art but a stranger, a sojourner upon earth ; a 
creature of a day, but just launching out into an un- 
changeable state. Make haste. Eternity is at hand. 
Eternity depends on this moment. An eternity of hap- 
piness, or an eternity of misery. 

6. In what state is thy soul ? Was God, while I am 
yet speaking, to require it of thee, art thou ready to 
meet death and judgment ? Oanst thou stand in His 
sight, who is of "purer eyes than to behold iuiquity?" 
Art thou " meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the 
saints in light ?" Hast thou " fought a good fight, and 
kept the faith ?" Hast thou secured the one thing 
needful ? Hast thou recovered the image of God, even 
righteousness and true holiness ? Hast thou put off 
the old man, and put on the new ? Art thou clothed 
upon with Christ ? 

7. Hast thou oil in thy lairip ? grace in thy heart ? 
Dost thou " love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
»nd with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy strength?" Is that mind in thee, which was also 
in Christ Jesus ? Art thou a Christian indeed ; that is, 
a new creature ? Are old things passed away, and all 
things become new ? 

8. Art thou a " partaker of the divine nature '(" 
Knowest thou not, that " Christ is in thee, except thov 


be reprobate ?" Knowcst thou that God " dwcllcth in 
thee, and thou in God, by his Spirit, which he hath 
given theo ?" Knowest thou not that " thy body is a 
temple of the Holy (Jhost, which thou hast of God?" 
Hast thou the witness in thyself? the earnest of thine 
inheritance ? Hast thou " received the Holy Ghost?" 
Or dost thou start at the question, not knowing " whether 
there be any Holy Ghost?" 

9. If it offends thee, be thou assured, that thau neither 
art a Christian, nor desirest to be one. Nay, thy very 
prayer is turned into sin ; and thou hast solemnly mocked 
God this very day, by praying for the inspiration of his 
Holy Spirit, when thou didst not believe there was any 
such thing to be received. 

10. Yet, ou the authority of God's word, and our own 
Church, I must repeat the question, " Hast thou received 
the Holy Ghost ?" If thou hast not, thou art not yet 
a Christian. For a Christian is a man that is " anointed 
with the Holy Ghost and with power." Thou art not 
yet made a partaker of pure religion and undefiled. Dost 
thou know what religion is ? that it is a participation 
rf the divine nature; the life of God in the soul of 
suan ; Christ formed in the heart ; " Christ in thee, the 
hope of glory?" happiness and holiness; heaven begun 
upon earth ? '• a kingdom of God within thee ; not meat 
»nd drink," no out\v;ird thing ; " but righteousness, 
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ?" an everlasting 
kingdom brought into thy soul ; a " peace of God, that 
passeth all understanding;" a "joy unspeakable, and 
full of glory '(" 

11. Knowest thou that "in Jesus Christ, nei.hcr 
circumcision availcth any thing, nor uncircumcision ; but 
faith that worketh by love ;" but a new creation ? Seest 
thou the necessity of that inward change, that spiritual 
birth, that life from the dead, that holiness? Aud art 
.thou thoroughly convinced, that without it no man shall 
•ee the Lord ? Art thou labouring after it ? ." giving 
all diligence to make thy calling and election sure?' 
'working out thy salvation with fear and trembling?" 


agonizing to enter in at the strait gate ?" Art the u in 
earnest about thy soul ? And canst thou tell the Seaichei 
of hearts, " Thou, God, art the thing that I long for ! 
Fjord, thou knowest all things ! thou knowest that 1 
would love thee !" 

12. Thou hopest to be saved j but what reason hast 
thou to give of the hope that is in thee ? Is it because 
thou hast done no harm ? or because thou hast done 
much good? or because thou art not like other men; 
but wise, or learned, or honest, and morally good ; es- 
teemed of men, and of a fair reputation ? Alas I all this 
will never bring thee to God. It is in his account 
lighter than vanity. Dost thou know Jesus Christ, 
whom he hath sent ? Hath he taught thee, that " by 
grace we are saved through faith ; and that not of our- 
selves : it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any man 
should boast ?" Hast thou received the faithful saying, 
as the whole foundation of thy hope, " that Jesus Christ 
came into the world to save sinners ?" Hast thou learned 
what that meaneth, " I came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners to repentance ? I am not sent, but unto thr 
lost sheep ?" Art thou (he that heareth, let him under 
stand !) lost, dead, damned already f Dost thou know 
thy deserts? Dost thou feel thy wants? Art thou 
" poor in spirit ?" mourning for God, and refusing to be 
comforted ? Is the prodigal " come to himself," and 
well content to be therefore thought " beside himself" 
by those who are still feeding upon the husks which he 
hath left ? Art thou willing to live godly in Christ 
Jesus? And dost *hou therefore suffer persecution ? Dc 
men say all manner of evil against thee falsely, for the 
Son of man's sake ? 

13. that in all these questions yn may hear the voice 
that wakes the dead ; and feel that hammer of the word, 
which breaketh the rocks in pieces ? " If ye will hear hit 
foice to-day, while it is called to-day, harden not your 
learts." Now, " awake, thou that sleepest" in spirituaJ 
death, that thou sleep not in death eternal 1 Feel thi 
<*t estate, and " arise from the dead." Leave thine olc 

10 6 D VOL. I. »» 


companions in sin and death. Follow thou Jesus, and 
.et the dead bury their dead. " Save thyself from this 
untoward generation." " Come out from among them, 
and be thou separate, and touch not the unclean thing, 
and the Lord shall receive thee." " Christ shall give 
thee light.' 

III. 1. This promise I come, lastly, to explain. And 
how encouraging a consideration is this, that whosoever 
thou art, who obeyest his call, thou canst not seek his 
face in vain ! If thou even now " awakest and arisest 
from the dead," he hath bound himself to " give thee 
light." " The Lord shall give thee grace and glory;" 
the light of his grace here, and the light of his glory 
when thou receivest the crown that fadeth not away. 
" Thy light shall break forth as the morning, and thy 
darkness be as the noonday." " God, who commanded 
the light to shine out of darkness, shall shine in thy 
heart; to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ." " On them that fear the Lord 
shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his 
wings." And in that day it shall be said unto thee, 
" Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of 
the Lord is risen upon thee." For Christ shall re\eal 
himself in thee : and he is the true Light. 

2. God is light, and will give himself to every awak- 
eued sinner, that waiteth for him : and thou shalt then 
be a temple of the living God, and Christ shall " dwell 
in thy heart by faith :" and, " being rooted and grounded 
in love, thou shalt be able to comprehend with all saints, 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height 
of that love of Christ which passeth knowledge." 

3. Ye sec your calling, brethren. We are called to 
Lc " an habitation of God through his Spirit ;" and, 
through his Spirit dwelling in us, to be saints here, and 
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. So 
exceeding great are the promises which are given 
unto us, actually given unto us who believe ! For by 
faith we " receive, not the spirit of the world, but the 
Spirit which is of God " — the sum of all the promise* 



— " that we may know the things that are freely given 
to us of God." 

4. The Spirit of Christ is that great gift of God which, 
at sundry times, and in divers manners, he hath pro- 
mised to man, and hath fully bestowed since the time 
that Christ was glorified. Those promises, before made 
to the fathers, be hath thus fulfilled : " I will put my 
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my sta- 
tutes." (Ezek. xxxvi. 27.) " I will pour water upon 
him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I 
will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing 
upon thine offspring." (Isaiah xliv. 3.) 

5 Ye may all be living witnesses of these things; of 
remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. " If 
thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that 
bclieveth." " Who among you is there that feareth the 
Lord, and" yet walketh on " in darkness, and hath no 
light ?" I ask thee, in the name of Jesus, Believest thou 
that his arm is not shortened at all ? that he is still 
mighty to save ? that he is the same yesterday, to-day 
and for ever? that he hath now power on earth to 
forgive sins? "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins arc 
forgiven." God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven thee. 
Receive this, " not as the word of man ; but as it is in- 
deed, the word of God ;" and thou art justified freely 
through faith. Thou shalt be sanctified also through 
faith which is in Jesus, and shalt set to thy seal, even 
thine, that " God hath given unto us eternal life, and 
this life is in his Son." 

6. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you ; 
and suffer ye the word of exhbrtation, even from one the 
least esteemed in the Church. Your conscience beareth 
you witness in the Holy Ghost, that these things are so, 
if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. " This 
is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ, whom he hath sent." This experimental know- 
ledge, and this alone, is true Christianity. He is a 
Christian who hath received the Spirit of Christ. He Is 

tot a Christian who hath not received him. Neithsr if 


it possible to have received him, and not know it. " Foi 
at that day," (when he cometh, saith our Lord,) " ye 
shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and 
I in you." This is that " Spirit of Truth, whom the 
world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither 
tnoweth him : but ye know him ; for he dwelleth with 
you, and shall be in you." (John xiv. 17.) 

7. The world cannot receive him, but utterly reject 
the Promise of the Father, contradicting and blasphem- 
ing. But every spirit which confesseth not this is not 
of God. Yea, " this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof 
ye have heard that it should come into the world ; and 
even now it is in the world." He i» Antichrist whoso- 
ever denies the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or that 
the indwelling Spirit of God is the common privilege of 
all believers, the blessing of the gospel, the unspeak 
able gift, the universal promise, the criterion of a real 

8. It nothing helps them to say, " We do not deny 
the assistance of God's Spirit ; but only this inspiration, 
this receiving the Holy Ghost, and being sensible of it. 
It is only this feeling of the Spirit, this being moved by 
tin Spirit, or filled with it, which we deny to have any- 
place in sound religion." But, in only denying this. 
you deny the whole Scriptures; the whole truth, and 
promise, and testimony of God. 

9. Our own excellent Church knows nothing of this 
devilish distinction ; but speaks plainly of " feeling the 
Spirit of Christ;"* of being "moved by the Holy 
Ghost,"f and knowing and "feeling there is no othei 
name than that of Jesus,"! whereby we can receive life 
and salvation. She teaches us all to pray for the " in- 
spiration of the Holy Spirit ;"§ yes, that we may be 
"filled with the Holy Ghost."|| Nay, and every pros- 
byter of hers professes to rece'ive the Holy Ghost by the 
imposition of hands. Therefore, to deny any of these 

Art. 17. | Office of ordaining Deacons. 

Visitation of the sick. \ Colled before the Holy Communloa 
Ordar <-f Confirmation. 




is, in effect, to renounce the Church of England aa well 
as the whole Christian revelation. 

10. But " the wisdom of God" was always " foolish- 
ness with men." No marvel, then, that the great mys- 
tery of the gospel should be now also " hid from the 
wise and prudent," as well as in the days of old ; that 
it should be almost universally denied, ridiculed, and 
exploded, as mere frenzy ; and that all who dare avow 
it still are branded with the names of madmen and en- 
thusiasts. This is " that falling away" which was to 
come ; that general apostasy of all orders and degrees 
of men, which we even now find to have overspread the 
earth. " Run to and fro in the streets of Jerusalem, and 
ace if ye can find a man," a man that loveth the Lord 
his God with all his heart, and serveth him with all 
his strength. How does our own land mourn (that we 
look no farther) under the overflowings of ungodliness ! 
What villanies of every kind are committed day bv 
day ; yea, too often with impunity, by those who sin 
with a high hand, and glory in their shame ! Who can 
reckon up the oaths, curses, profaneness, blasphemies ; 
the lying, slandering, evil-speaking ; the Sabbath-break- 
ing, gluttouy, drunkenness, revenge; the whoredoms, 
adulteries, and various uncleanness ; the frauds, injus- 
tice, oppression, extortion, which overspread our land as 
a flood ? 

11. And even among those who have kept themselves 
pure from those grosser abominations ; how much angei 
and pride, how much sloth and idleness, how much soft 
QC8S and effeminacy, how much luxury and self-indul- 
gence, how much covetousness and ambition, how much 
thirst of praise, how much love of the world, how much 
fear of man, is to be found ! Meanwhile, how little of true 
religion ! For, where is he that loveth either God 01 
his neighbour, as He hath given us commandment ? On 
the one hand, are those who have not so much as the 
torm of godliness; on the other, those who have the 
form only : there stands the open, there the painted 

lepulchre So that in very deed, whosoever were ear 


neatly to behold any public gathering together of the 
people, (I fear those in our churches are not to be 
excepted,) might eaeily perceive, " that the one part were 
Sadducces, and the other Pharisees :" the one having 
almost as little concern about religion, as if there wore 
" no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit ;" and the 
other making it a mere lifeless form, a dull round of 
external performances, without either true faith, or the 
love of God, or joy in the Holy Ghost ! 

12. Would to God I could except us of this place ! 
" Brethren, my heart's desire, and prayer to God, for 
you is, that ye may be saved" from this overflowing of 
ungodliness ; and that here may its proud waves be 
stayed ! But is it so iudeed ? God knoweth, yea, and 
our own consciences, it is not. Ye have not kept your- 
selves pure. Corrupt are we also and abominable ; and 
few are there that understand any more ; few that wor- 
ship God in spirit and in truth. We, too, are " a gene- 
ration that set not our hearts aright, and whose spirit 
eleaveth not steadfastly unto God." He hath appointed 
us indeed to be " the salt of the earth : but if the sail 
hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing ; 
but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men." 

13. And " shall I not visit for these things, saith the 
Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation 
as this?" Yea, we know not how soon he may say to 
the sword, "Sword, go through this land!" He hath 
given us long space to repent. He lets us alone this 
year also : but he warns and awakens us by thunder. 
His judgments are abroad in the earth ; and we have all 
reason to expect the heaviest of all, even that he " should 
come unto us quickly, and remove our candlestick out 
of its place, except we repent and do the first works;" 
unless we return to the principles of the Reformation, 
the truth and simplicity of the gospel. Perliaps we are 
uow resisting the last effort of divine grace to save us. 
Perhaps we have well nigh "filled up the measure of 
>ur iniquities," by rejecting the counsel of God againsi 
iurnclves, and casting out his messenger* 


11. God, "in the midst of wrath, remember mer 
cy !" Be glorified in our reformation, not in our de- 
struction ! Let us " hear the rod, and him that appointee] 
it!" Now, that thy "judgments are abroad in the 
earth," let the inhabitants of the world " learn right- 
eousness !" 

15. My brethren, it is high time for us to awake out 
of sleep before the " great trumpet of the Lord be blown," 
and our land become a field of blood. may we speedily 
see the things that make for our peace, before they are 
hid from our eyes ! " Turn thou us, good Lord, and 
let thine anger cease from us. Lord, look down from 
heaven, behold and visit this vine ;" and cause us to 
know " the time of our visitation." " Help us, O God 
of our salvation, for the glory of thy name ! deliver 
us, and be merciful to our sins, for thy name's sake ? 
And so we will not go back from thee. let us live, 
and we shall call upon thy name. Turn us again, 
Lord God of hosts ! Show the light Qf thy countenance, 
and we shall be whole." 

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abun- 
dantly above all that we can ask or think, according to 
the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the 
church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world with 
mt end. — Amen 1" 


Ques. 1. How is this sermon divided? 

Ques. 2. (I. 1.) What is signified by sleep? 

Ques. 3. (I. 2.) What is said of the state of nature? 

Ques. 4. (I. 3.) What further is said of carnal security? 

Ques. 5. (I. 4.) Can a sinner be satisfied in his sin? 

Ques. f>. (I. 5.) What is said of those not openly vicious? 

Ques. 7 (I. 6.) What is said of the self-righteous man? 

Ques. 8. (I. 7.) How are these esteemed by God? 

Ques. 9. (I. 8.) What is said of those who are dead in 
trespasses and sins? 

Ques. 10. (I. 9.) What is said of the Second Adam? 

Ques. 11. (I. 10.) What is said of those who have no per- 
ception of spiritual things? 

Ques. 12. (T. 11.) What is the life of the soul? 

Ques. 13. (I. 12.) What is said of the witness of the Spirit? 

Ques. 14. (IT. 1, 2.) How is the exhortation enforced? 

Ques. 15. ( I r. 3.) To whom is the unconcerned soul likened? 

Ques. 10. (II. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.) Mention the figures of speech 
employed to describe the state of the unawakened soul. 

Ques. 17. (II. 8.) What is meant by being a partaker of 
the divine nature? 

Ques. 18. (II. 9.) If these searching questions give offense, 
what is the inference? 

Ques. 19. (II. ](). ) What is religion as here defined? 

Ques. 20. (II. 11.) What is meant by circumcision and 
uncircumeision availing nothing? Ans. That outward forms 


are not essential, whilst the change of heart and inward 
piety are necessary to every true Christian. 

Ques. 21. (II. 12.) What are the signs of an awakened 

Ques. 22. (III. 1, 2.) What encouraging consideration is 
mentioned ? 

Ques. 23. (III. 3.) What is our calling? 

Ques. 24. (III. 4.) What is the great gift of God? 

Ques. 25. (III. 5.) Of what may all be living witnesses? 

Ques. 26. (III. 6.) What is true Christianity ? 

Ques. 27. (III. 7.) What is the spirit of Antichrist ? 

Ques. 28. (III. 8.) What do they deny who reject the doc- 
trine taught by the preacher ? 

Ques. 29. (III. 9.) What Church is referred to here? Ans. 
The Church of England. 

Ques. 30. (III. 10.) What does he say of the prevailing 
wickedness and apostasy of the age? 

Ques. 31. (III. 11.) What of those who do not commit the 
grosser abominations? 

Ques. 32. (III. 12.) What does he say of the audience to 
whom he is preaching? Does he except them? 

Ques. 33. (III. 13.) What is meant by removing the can- 
dlestick out of its place? Ans. By taking away the privileges 
abused, and leaving the work of God to be carried on by 

Ques. 34. (III. 14.) What appeal does he make? 

Ques. 35. (III. 15, 16.) How is this sermon concluded? 

Ques. 36. Ought we not, as ministers called to labor for 
the salvation of the world, to examine ourselves by the 
tests given in this sermon? Afe we fully awakened to feel 
our own weakness, and conscious that all our help must 
come from God? The standard of Christian life which we 
bear in the sight of men ought not to condemn us; there- 
fore, with all diligence let us proclaim the truth of God 
in love and meekness, becoming "living epistles, known 
and read of all men." 


According to the statutes of the University of Oxford, 
" all that are masters of arts, and on the foundation of any 
college, are set down in a roll as they take their degree, and 
in that order preach before the University, or pay three 
guineas (about fifteen dollars) for a preacher in their stead." 
In August, 1744, it came to Mr. John Wesley's turn to 
preach. " He came to Oxford some time before, and preached 
frequently every day in courts, public houses, and elsewhere. 
On Friday morning, having held forth twice in private, at 
five and at eight, lie came to St. Mary's at ten o'clock. 
There were present the vice-chancellor, the proctors, most 
of the heads of houses, a vast number of gownsmen, and a 
multitude of private people, with many of Wesley's own 
people, both brethren and sisters." This account is given 
by one who was present on the memorable occasion. "His 
hlaek hair, quite smooth," says this writer, "and parted very 
exactly, added to a peculiar composure in his countenance, 
showed him to be an uncommon man. Ilis prayer was soft, 
short, and conformable to the rules of the University. His 
text was Acts iv. 31. He spoke it very slowly, and with an 
agreeable emphasis." 

The celebrated Dr. Kennieott, the editor of the Hebrew 
Bible, is the writer just ((noted. He was then about twen- 
ty-six years of age, and just entering upon his distinguished 
career. lie states that he admired some passages of this 
sermon, and thought Mr. Wesley's denunciation of the young 
townsmen as a "generation of triflers" was just, but he 


blamed the preacher for saying that Oxford was not a Chris- 
tian city. "He accused the whole body (and confessed him- 
self to be one of the number) of the sin of perjury; and for 
this reason, because, upon becoming members of a college, 
every person takes an oath to observe the statutes of the Uni- 
versity and no one observes them in all things. Had these 
things been omitted, and his censures moderated, I think 
his discourse, as to style and delivery, would have been un- 
commonly pleasing to others as well as to myself. He is al- 
lowed to be a man of great parts, and that by the excellent 
Dean of Christ Church (Dr. Conybeare); for the day he 
preached the Dean generously said of him, 'John Wesley 
will always be thought a man of sound sense, though an en- 
thusiast.' However, the vice-chancellor sent for the sermon, 
and I hear the heads of colleges intend to show their resent- 

This account of Mr. Wesley's sermon is exceedingly in- 
teresting. It comes from a man who became one of the fore- 
most scholars in the world, and shows in a remarkable man- 
ner how little there really was of true spirituality in the re- 
ligion of the University at that time. If Mr. Wesley had 
complimented his audience; if he had withheld unpleasant 
truths; like many other preachers of the day, had he left 
their consciences undisturbed, to sleep in sin and the neglect 
of duty toward God and men, he would have been applaud- 
ed to the echo. How grandly does the simple-hearted preach- 
er of the gospel appear on this occasion! They cannot an- 
swer his argument; they cannot deny his statements; but 
they can "show their resentment." And this they did ef- 
fectually. Wesley never appeared before the University 
again. When his turn came next, they paid his fine, and 
supplied a preacher in his stead — one that would cry " Peace, 
peace, when there was no peace." 

It may be useful to contrast with this course of Mr. Wes- 
ley the conduct of a celebrated court preacher in the time 
of Louis XIV. of France. That renowned monarch was ex- 


ceedingly sensitive to every allusion to the subject of death. 
On one occasion, while preaching before the king, the ora- 
tor took occasion to make the remark, "All men are mortal." 
Observing a change on the face of the king, and perceiving 
that he had intruded the forbidden subject upon the proud 
and licentious monarch, the preacher paused and corrected 
his statement by saying, "Almost all men are mortal." The 
absurdity and folly of this attempt to recall a self-evident 
truth could not fail to arrest the attention of the audience, 
and, without raising himself in the estimation of Louis, the 
preacher richly merited the contempt of every intelligent 
hearer. It is sometimes a question of taste as to the proper 
terms in which sin should be rebuked in public. The preach- 
er will never go astray, however, who is careful always "to 
speak the truth in love." Fear of man should be banished 
from the pulpit, but the spirit of charity should alwavs an- 
imate every rebuke, whether spoken privately or in the pul- 
pit. We ought to denounce sin, but in so doing let us show 
an earnest desire to save the sinner. 

The student will find nothing in this sermon that is cal- 
culated to offend the most sensitive congregation, except 
the plain truth of the gospel. If they took offense, it was 
because their own consciences accused them. An honest 
man could do no less than speak his own convictions; none 
but a brave man could dare to deliver the whole counsel of 
God in that presence. To speak the truth in love is a duty 
that the faithful minister must discharge, or his own smil 
w ill receive hurt. Tt is well to lie considerate and mindful of 
the feelings of others, but he is not worthy of the great com- 
mission who shrinks from a conscious duty because of the face 
of man. 


Historical summary of the day of Pentecost. The extraor- 
dinary and ordinary gifts of the Spirit at this time. The 
latter alone is the subject of this discourse. 

I. Christianity as beginning to exist in individuals. Con- 


viction of sin, repentance, faith, followed by the spirit of 
adoption. The fruits of this spirit — peace, joy, love to God 
and to man — leading to all inward holiness, abstinence from 
sin, use of the means of grace, and practice of good works. 

II. Christianity as spreading from one to another. God's 
rule. Impelling love. Eesulting labors. The success of 
their work. Opposition and persecution. Ending in still 
greater victories. 

III. Christianity as covering the earth. Predicted in the 
Old Testament. In the New. Ideal description of the state 
of the world. 

IV. Application. Where does this Christianity now ex- 
ist? Is this a Christian country? Is this a Christian city? 
Appeal to the officers, professors, clergymen, and youth of 
the University. Solemn appeal to God for salvation. 



Pkbaobed at St. Mast's, Oxford, befobe the UmriRFin 

o» August 24, 1744. 

''And they were aU filled with the Holy Ohoit."— Acts It. 31. 

1. The Bame expression occurs in the second chap- 
tei, where we read, "When the day of Pentecost wag 
fully come, they were all" (the apostles, with the 
women, and the mother of Jesus, and his brethren) 
" with one accord in one place. And suddenly there 
came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. 
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of 
lire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all 
filled with the Holy Ghost : " one immediate effect 
whereof was, " they began to speak with other tongues;" 
insomuch that both the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, 
and the other strangers who " came together, when this 
was noised abroad, heard them speak, in their several 
tongues, the wonderful works of God." (Acts ii. 1-6.) 

2. In this chapter we read, that when the apostles 
and brethren had been praying, and praising God, " tho 
place was shaken where they were assembled together, 
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Not 
that we find any visible appearance here, such as had 
been in the former instance : nor are we informed that 
the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were then given 
to all or any of them ; such as the gifts of " healing, of 
working" other " miracles, of prophecy, of discerning 
spirits, the speaking with divers kinds of tongues, and 
the interpretation of tongues." (1 Cor. xii. 9, 10.) 

3. Whether these gifts of the Holy Ghost were de- 
signed to remain in the church throughout all ages, and 
whether or no they will be restored at the nearer »p- 



proacb of the " restitution of all things," are questions 
which it is not needful to decide. But it is needful to 
observe this, that, even in the infancy of the church, 
God divided them with a sparing hand. Were all even 
then prophets ? Were all workers of miracles ? Had 
all the gifts of healing ? Did all speak with tongues ? 
No, in no wise. Perhaps not one in a thousand. Pro- 
bably none but the teachers in the church, and only 
gome of them. (1 t. xii. 28-30.) It was, therefore, 
for a more excellent purpose than this, that " they were 
all filled with the Holy Ghost." 

4. It was to give them (what none can deny to be 
essential to all Christians in all ages) the mind which 
was in Christ, those holy fruits of the Spirit, which 
whosoever hath not, is none of his ; to fill them with 
" love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness ;" 
(Gal. v. 22-24 ;) to endue them with faith, (perhaps 
it might be rendered, fidelity?) with meekness and tem- 
perance ; to enable them to crucify the flesh, with its 
affections and lusts, its passions and desires ; and, in 
consequence of that inward change, to fulfil all outward 
righteousness; to "walk as Christ also walked," in 
" the work of faith, in the patience of hope, the labour 
of love." (1 Thess. i. 3.) 

5. Without busying ourselves, then, in curious, need- 
less inquiries, touching those extraordinary gifts of the 
Spirit, let us take a nearer view of these his ordinary 
fruits, which we are assured will remain throughout ail 
ages; — of that great work of God among the children of 
men, which we are used to express by one word, " Chris- 
tianity ;" not as it implies a set of opinions, a system 
of doctrines, but as it refers to men's hearts and lives. 
And thiB Christianity it may be useful to consider unriei 
three distinct views : 

I. As beginning to exist in individuals : 
H. As spreading from one to another : 
HI. As covering the earth. 

I design to close these considerations with a plain, 
practical application. 

4 i—« 


1. 1 And, first, let us consider Christianity in iU 
nse, as beginning to exist in individuals. 

Suppose, then, one of those who heard the Apostle 
Peter preaching repentance and remission of sins, wag 
pricked to the heart, was convinced of sin, repented, 
and then believed in Jesus. By this faith of the cpera- 
tion of God, which was the very substance, or sub- 
sistence, of things hoped for, (Heb. xi. 1,) the demon 
strative evidence of invisible things, he instantly received 
the Spirit of adoption, whereby he now cried, " Abba, 
Father." (Rom. vii. 15.) Now first it was that he 
could call Jesus Lord, by the Holy Ghost, (1 Cor. 
xii. 3,) the Spirit itself bearing witness with his spirit 
that he was a child of God. (Rom. viii. 16.) Now it 
was that he could truly say, " I live not, but Christ 
liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh, 
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and 
gave himself for me." (Gal. ii. 20.) 

2. This, then, was the very essence of his faith, a 
divine t%ty%ot (evidence or conviction) of the love of 
God the Father, through the Sun of his love, to him a 
sinner, now accepted in the Beloved. And " being jus- 
tified by faith, he had peace with God," (Rom. v. 1,) 
yea, " the peace of God ruling in his heart ;" a peace 
which, passing all understanding, (itwta. rw>, all barely 
rational conception,) kept his heart and mind from all 
doubt and fear, through the knowledge of him in whom 
he had believed. He could not, therefore, " be afraid of 
any evil tidings ;" for his " heart stood fast, believing 
in the Lord." He feared not what man could do unto, knowing the very hairs of his head were all num 
oered. He feared not all the powers of darkness, whom 
God was daily bruising under his feet. Least of all wa» 
he afraid to die; nay, ho desired to "depart, and to be 
with Christ;" (Phil. i. 23;) who, " through death, had 
destroyed him that had the power of death, even the 
devil; and delivered them who, through fear of death, 
were all their lifetime," till then, "subject to bondage." 
'Heb. ii. 15.) 


3. His soul, therefore, magnified the Loid, and hie 
spirit rejoiced in God his Saviour. "He rejoiced in him 
with joy unspeakable," who had reconciled him to God, 
even the Father ; " in whom he had redemption through 
his blood, the forgiveness of sins." He rejoiced in that 
witness of God's Spirit with his spirit, that he was a 
child of God ; and more abundantly, " in hope of the 
glory of God ;" in hope of the glorious image of God, 
and full renewal of bis soul in righteousness and, true 
holiness ; and in hope of that crown of glory, that 
" inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not 

4. " The love of God was also shed abroad in his 
heart by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him." 
(Rom. v. 5.) " Because he was a son, God had sent 
forth the Spirit of his Son into his heart, crying, Abba, 
Father !" (Gal. iv. 6.) And that filial love of God was. 
continually increased by the witness he had in himself 
(1 John v. 10) of God's pardoning love to him ; by 
" beholding what manner of love it was which the 
Father had bestowed upon him, that he should be called 
a child of God." (1 John iii. 1.) So that God was the 
dssire of his eyes, and the joy of his heart ; his portion 
in time and in eternity. 

5. He that thus loved God could not but love his 
brother also ; and " not in word only, but in deed and 
in truth." " If God," said he, " so loved us, wc ought 
also to love one another;" (1 John iv. 11;) yea, every 
soul of man, as "the mercy of God is over all his 
works." (Psalm cxlv. 9.) Agreeably hereto, the affec- 
tion of this lover of God embraced all mankind for his 
sake ; not excepting those whom he had never seen in 
the flesh, or those of whom he knew nothing more than 
that they were " the offspring of God," for whose souls 
his Son had died ; not excepting the " evil" and " un- 
thankful ;" and least of all his enemies, those who hated, 
or persecuted, or despitefully used him for his Master's 
sake. These had a peculiar place, both in his heart and 
in his prayers He lnved them, " even as Christ loved ua ' 

* fi VOL. I. 


6. And "love is not puffed up." (1 Cor. xiii. 4.) 
It abases to the dust every soul wherein it dwells 
Accordingly, he was lowly of heart, little, mean, and 
rile in his own eyes. He neither sought nor received 
the praise of men, but that which cometh of God only. 
He was meek and long-suffering, gentle to all, and easy 
to be entreated. Faithfulness and truth never forsook 
him ; they were " bound about his neck, and wrote on 
the table of his heart." By the same Spirit he was 
enabled to be temperate in all things, refraining his 
soul even as a weaned child. He was " crucified to 
the world, and the world crucified to him ;" superior to 
" the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the 
pride of life." By the same almighty love was he 
Baved both from passion and pride ; from lust and 
vanity ; from ambition and covetousness ; and from 
every temper which was not in Christ. 

7. It may be easily believed, he who had this love in 
his heart would work no evil to his neighbour. It was 
impossible for him, knowingly and designedly, to do 
harm to any man. He was at the greatest distance 
from cruelty and wrong, from any unjust or unkind 
action. With the same care did he " set a watch before 
his mouth, and keep the door of his lips," lest he should 
offend in tongue, either against justice, or against mercy 
or truth. He put away all lying, falsehood, and fraud ; 
neither was guile fouud in his mouth. He spake evil 
of no man ; nor did an unkind word ever come out of 
his lips. 

8. And as he was deeply sensible of the truth of that 
word, " Without me ye can do nothing," and, conse- 
quently, of the need he had to be watered of God every 
moment ; go ho continued daily in all the ordinances of 
God, the stated channels of his grace to man : " in tho 
apostles' din-trine," or teaching, receiving that food of 
the soul with all readiness of heart; in "the breaking 
of bread," which he found to be the communion of the 
body of Christ; and "in the prayers" and praisei 
offered up by the great congregation. And tiius, ha 


daily "grew in grace," increasing in strength, in the 
knowledge and love of God. 

9. But it did not satisfy him, barely to abstain from 
doing evil. His soul was athirst to do good. The 
•anguage of his heart continually was, " My Father 
worketh hitherto, and I work." "My Lord went about 
doing good ; and shall not I tread in his steps ?" As 
he had opportunity, therefore, if he could do no good of 
a higher kind, he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, 
helped the fatherless or stranger, visited and assisted 
them that were sick or in prison. He gave all his 
goods to feed the poor. He rejoiced to labour or to 
suffer for them ; and whereinsoever he might profit 
another, there especially to " deny himself." He 
counted nothing too dear to part with for them, as well 
remembering the word of his Lord, " Inasmuch as ye 
have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, 
ye have done it unto me." (Matt. xxv. 40.) 

10. Such was Christianity in its rise. Such was a 
Christian in ancient days. Such was every one of 
those, who, when they heard the threatenings of the 
chief priests and elders, " lifted up their voice to God 
with one accord, and were all filled with the Holy 
Ghost. The multitude of them that believed were of 
me heart and of one soul :" so did the love of Him in 
whom they had believed constrain them to love one 
mother ! " Neither said any of them that aught of the 
things which he possessed was his own j but they had 
all things common :" so fully were they crucified to the 
world, and the world crucified to them ! " And they 
oontinued steadfastly with 'one accord in the Apostles' 
doctrine, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayer." 
(Acts ii. 42.) "And great grace was upon them all ; 
neither was there any among them that lacked : for as 
many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, 
and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and 
laid them down at the apostles' feet : and distribution 
was made unto every man according as he had need." 
-Actaiv. 31-35.) 

■ 2 


II. 1. Let us take a view, in the second place, of 
this Christianity, as spreading from one to another, and 
bo gradually making its way into the world : for such 
was the will of God concerning it, who did not " light 
a candle to put it under a bushel, but that it might give 
light to all that were in the house." And this our 
Lord had declared to his first disciples, " Ye are the 
salt of the earth," "the light of the world ;" at the same 
time that he gave that general command, "Let youi 
light so shine before men, that they may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." 
(Matt. v. 13-1(5.) 

2. And, indeed, supposing a few of these lovers of 
mankind to see " the whole world lying in wickedness," 
can we believe they would be unconcerned at the sight, 
at the misery of those for whom their Lord died ? 
Would not their bowels yearn over them, and theii 
hearts melt away for very trouble ? Could they then 
stand idle all the day long, even were there no command 
from Him whom they loved ? Rather, would they not 
labour, by all possible means, to pluck some of 
brands out of the burning ? Undoubtedly they would : 
they would spare no pains to bring back whomsoever 
they could of those poor " sheep that had gone astray, 
to the great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls." 
(I Pet. ii. 25.) 

3. So the Christians of old did. They laboured, 
having opportunity, " to do good unto all men," (Gal. 
vi. 10,) warning them to flee from the wrath to come ; 
now. now to escape the damnation of hell. They de- 
clared, " The times of ignorance God winked at ; but 
now he calleth all men everywhere to repent." (AcU 
xvii. 30.) They cried aloud, Turn ye, turn ye, from 
your evil ways ; " so iniquity shall not be your ruin." 
(Ezek. xviii. 30.) They " reasoned" with them of 
"temperance, and righteousness," or justice, — of th* 
virtues opposite to their reigning sins; "and of judg- 
ment to come," — of the wrath of God which would 



rarely be executed on evil-doers in that day when he 
should judge the world. (Acts xxiv. 25.) 

4. They endeavoured herein to speak to every man 
severally as he had need. To the careless, to those who 
lay unconcerned in darkness and in the shadow of death; 
they thundered, " Awake, thou that sleepest ; arise from 
the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." But to 
tboeo who were already awakened out of sleep, and 
groaning under a sense of the wrath of God, their lan- 
guage was, " We have an Advocate with the Father ; 
he is the propitiation for our sins." Meantime, those 
who had believed, they provoked to love and to good 
works j to patient continuance in well-doing; and to 
abound more and more in that holiness without which 
no man can see the Lord. (Heb. xii. 14.) 

5. And their labour was not in vain in the Lord. 
His word ran and was glorified. It grew mightily and 
prevailed. But so much the more did offences prevail 
also. The world in general were offended, "becaust 
they testified of it, that the works thereof were evil." 
(John vii. 7.) The men of pleasure were offended, not 
only because these men were made, as it were, to re- 
prove their thoughts; ("He professeth," said they, 
" to have the knowledge of God ; he calleth himself the 
child of the Lord ; his life is not like other men's ; his 
ways are of another fashion; he abstaineth from our 
ways, as from filthiness ; he maketh his boast, that God 
is his Father," Wis. ii. 13-16;) but much more, be- 
cause so many of their companions were taken away, 
and would no more " run with them to the same excess 
of riot." (1 Pet. iv. 4.) The men of reputation were 
offended, because, as the gospel spread, they declined 
in the esteem of the people ; and because many no 
longer dared to give them flattering titles, or to pay 
man the homage due to God only. The men of trade 
called one another together, and said, " Sirs, ye know 
that by this craft we have our wealth : but ye see and 
hear that these men have persuaded and turned away 
<uuoh people • so that this our sraft is in danger to M 


Mil at nought." (Acts xix. 25, &c.) Above all, the 
men of religion, so called, the men of oUsi'de religion, 
"the saints of the world," were offended, and ready at 
every opportunity to cry out " Men of Israel, help 1 
Wo have found these men pestilent fellows, movers of 
sedition throughout the world." (Acts xxiv. 5.) "These 
are the men that teach all men everywhere against the 
people, and against this place." (Acts xxi. 28.) 

6. Thus it was that the heavens grew black with 
clouds, and the storm gathered amain. For the more 
Christianity spread, the more hurt was done, in the ac- 
count of those who received it not ; and the number in- 
creased of those who were more and more enraged at 
these men who thus " turned the world upside down;" 
(Acts xvii. (5;) insomuch that more and more cried out, 
" Away with such fellows from the earth ; it is not fit 
that they should live ;" yea, and sincerely believed, that 
wiu-scever should kill them would do God service. 

7. Meanwhile they did not fail to cast out their name 
.is evil ; (Luke vi. 22 ;) so that this " sect was everywhere 
spoken against." (Acts xxviii. 22.) Men said all 
manner of evil of them, even as had been done of the 
prophets that were before them. (Matt. v. 12.) And 
whatsoever any would affirm, others would believe ; so 
that offences grew as the stars of heaven for multitude 
And hence arose, at the time fore-ordained of thr 
Father, persecution in all its forms. Some, for a 
season, suffered only shame and reproach ; some, " the 
spoiling of their goods;" "some had trial of mocking 
and scourging ; some of bonds and imprisonment ;" 
and others " resisted unto blood." (Heb. x. 34 ; xi. 
36, &c.) 

S. Now it was that the pillars of hell were shaken, 
and the kingdom of God spread more and more. Sin- 
ners were everywhere " turned from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan unto God." He gave his 
children " such a mouth, and such wisdom, as all their 
tdversaries could not resist ;" and their lives were of 
Hiual force with their words. But, above all, their tut 


ferings spake ',o«all the world. They " approval then* 
selves the servants of God, in afflictions, in necessities, 
in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in 
labours ; in perils in the sea, in perils in the wilderness, 
in weariness and painfulncss, in hunger and thirst, in 
cold and nakedness." (2 Cor. vi. 1, &c.) And when, 
having fought the good fight, they were led as sheep tc 
the slaughter, and offered up on the sacrifice and service 
of their faith, then the blood of each found a voice, and 
the heathen owned, " He being dead, yet speaketh." 

9. Thus did Christianity spread itself in the earth. 
But how soon did the tares appear with the wheat, and 
the mystery of iniquity work, as well as the mystery 
if yoiiliness ! How soon did Satan find a seat, even 
i'm the temple of God, " till the woman fled into the 
wilderness," and " the faithful were again minished from 
the children of men !" Here we tread a beaten path : 
the still increasing corruptions of the succeeding genera- 
tions have been largely described, from time to time, 
by those witnesses God raised up, to show that he 
hud " built his church upon a rock, and the gates of 
hell should not" wholly " prevail against her." (Matt, 
xvi. 18.) 

III. 1. But shall we not see greater things than these ? 
Yea, greater than have been yet from the beginning of 
the world. Can Satan cause the truth of God to fail, oi 
his promises to be of none effect ? If not, the time will 
come when Christianity will prevail over all, and cover 
the earth. Let us stand a little, and survey (the third 
thing which was proposed) this strange sight, a Christian 
world. Of this the prophets of, old inquired and searched 
diligently : (1 Pet. i. 10, 11, &c :) of this the Spirit which 
was in them testified, " It shall come to pass in the last 
days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be es- 
tablished on the top of the mountains, and shall be cz 
alted above the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it 
And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and 
their spears into pruuiuglinnks : nation shall not lift up 

word against nation neither shall they learn war any 



more." (Isai ii. 2, 4.) "In that day there shall be a 
Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an Ensign of the 
people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek : and his rest shall 
be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day that 
the Lord shall set his hand again to recover the rein- 
nan, of his people ; and he shall set up an Ensign fat 
the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, 
and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four 
corners of the earth." (Isa. xi. 10-12.) "The wolf 
shall then dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall 
lie down with the kid ; and the calf and the young lion 
and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead 
them. They shall not hurt nor destroy, saith the Lord, 
in all my holy mountain : for the earth shall be full of 
the kuowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." 
flsa. xi. 6-9.) 

2. To the same effect arc the words of the great 
tpostle, which it is evident have never yet been ful- 
illed. " Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. 
IJut through their fall, salvation is come to the Gentiles 
And if the diminishing of them be the riches of the 
Gentiles, how much more their fulness ? For I would 
not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mys- 
tery ; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, 
until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in : and so all 
Israel shall be saved." (Rom. xi. 1, 11, 12, 25, 26.) 

3. Suppose now the fulness of time to be come, and 
'.he prophecies to be accomplished. What a prospect is 
this ! All is peace, "quietness, and assurance for ever." 
Here is no din of arms, no " confused noise," no " gar- 
ments rolled in blood." " Destructions are come to a 
perpetual end :" wars are ceased from the earth. Nei- 
ther are there any intestine jars remaining ; no brother 
rising up against brother; no country or city divided 
against itself, and tearing out its own bowels. Civil 
discord is at an end for evermore, and none is left either 
to destroy or hurt his neighbour. Here is no oppression 
to " make" even " the wise man mad ;" no extortion 

io " grind the face of the poor ;" no robbery o» 


wrong; no rapino or injustice; for all are "content 
with such things as they possess." Thus " righteousness 
and peace have kissed each other ;" (Psalm lxxxv. 10 :) 
they have "taken root and filled the land;" "righteous- 
ness flourishing out of the earth ;" and " peace looking 
down from heaven." 

4. And with righteousness, or justice, mercy is alse 
found. The earth is no longer full of cruel habitations. 
The Lord hath destroyed both the blood-thirsty and ma- 
licious, the envious and revengeful man. Were there 
any provocation, there is none that now knoweth to re- 
turn evil for evil : but indeed there is none that doeth 
evil, no, not one ; for all are harmless as doves. And 
being filled with peace and joy in believing, and united 
ia one body, by one Spirit, they all love as brethren, 
they are all of one heart and of one soul. " Neither 
saith any of them, that aught of the things which he 
possesseth is his own." There is none among them that 
lacketh; for every man loveth his neighbour as himself. 
And all walk by one rule : " Whatever ye would that 
men should do unto you, even so do unto them." 

5. It follows, that no unkind word can ever be heard 
among them, no strife of tongues, no contention of any 
kind, no railing or evil-speaking, but every one " opens 
his mouth with wisdom, and in his tongue there is the 
law of kindness." Equally incapable are they of fraud 
or guile : their love is without dissimulation : their 
words are always the just expression of their thoughts, 
opening a window into their breast, that whosoever de- 
sires may look into their hearts, and see that only love 
and God are there. , 

6. Thus, where the Lord Omnipotent taketh to him- 
self his mighty power and reigneth, doth he " subdue all 
things to himself," cause every heart to overflow with 
iove, and fill every mouth with praise. " Happy are the 
people that are in such a case ; yea, blessed are the peo- 
ple who have the Lord for their God." (Psalm cxliv 
15.) " Arise, shine," saith the Lord; " for thy light v 
•none, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon the* 


Thou hast known that I the Lord am thy Saviour and 
thy Redeemer, tne mighty God of Jacob. I have made 
thy officers peace, and thy exactors righteousness. 
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting 
nor destruction within thy borders ; but thou shalt call 
thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. Thy people 
are all righteou* : they shall inherit the land for ever, 
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that 
I may be glorified. The sun shall be no more thy light 
by day ; neither for brightness shall the moon give light 
onto thee : but the Lord shall be unto thee an ever- 
lasting light, and thy God thy glory." (Isaiah lx. 1, 
16-19, 21.) 

IV. Having thus briefly considered Christianity, as 
beginning, as going on, and as covering the earth ; it 
remains only that I should close the whole with a plain, 
practical application. 

1. And, first, I would ask, where does this Christian- 
ity now exist? Where, I pray, do the Christians live? 
Which is the country, the inhabitants whereof are all 
thus filled with the Holy Ghost? — are all of one heart 
and of one soul ; cannot suffer one among them to lack 
any thing, but continually give to every man as he hath 
need ; who, one and all, have the love of God filling 
their hearts, and constraining them to love their neigh- 
bour as themselves; who have all "put on bowels of 
mercy, humbleness of mind, gentleness, long-suffering;" 
who offend not in any kind, either by word or deed, 
against justice, mercy or truth; but in every point do 
unto all men, as they would these should do unto them ? 
With what propriety can we term any a Christian 
country, which does not answer this description ? Why, 
then, let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian 
country upon earth. 

2. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, if 
ye do account mt a madman or a fool, yet, as a fool 
bear with me. It is utterly needful that some one should 
one great plainness of speech towards you. It is more 
especially needful at this time ; for who knowetb bnt it 



ig the last? v jo knoweth how soon the righteous 
Judge may sr , " I will no more be entreated for this 
people 1" " Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in this 
land, they should but deliver their own souls." And 
who will use this plainness, if I do not ? Therefore I, 
even I will speak. And I adjure you, by the living 
God, that ye steel not your breasts against receiving & 
blessing at my hands. Do not say in your hearts, Non 
pertuadebis, efiamsi persuaseris ;* or, in other words, 
Lord, thou shalt not send by whom thou wilt send ; let 
me rather perish in my blood, than be saved by this 


3. Brethren, " I am persuaded better things of you, 
though I thus speak." Let me ask you, then, in tender 
love, and in the spirit of meekness, Is this city a Chris- 
tian city ? Is Christianity, scriptural Christianity, found 
here ? Are we, considered as a community of men, so 
" filled with the Holy Ghost," as to enjoy in our hearts, 
and show forth in our lives, the genuine fruits of that 
Spirit? Are all the magistrates, all heads and go- 
vernors of colleges and halls, and their respective so- 
cieties, (not to speak of the inhabitants of the town,) 
" of one heart and one soul ?" Is " the love of God 
•hed abroad in our hearts ?" Are our tempers the same 
that were in him ? And are our lives agreeable thereto ? 
Are we " holy as he who hath called us is holy in all 
manner of conversation ?" 

4. I entreat you to observe, that here are no peculiar 
uotions now under consideration ; that the question 
moved is not concerning doubtful opinions of one kind 
or another, but concerning the 'Undoubted, fundamental 
branches (if there be any such) of our common Christi- 
anity. And for the decision thereof, I appeal to your 
own conscience, guided by the word of God. He there* 
fore that is not condemned by his own heart, let him go 

* "Tour persuasion* shall not prevail with us, even though th»j 
ihoald really convince us." — Edit. 

L— » U 


6. In the fear, then, and in the presence of the great 
G od, before whom both you and I shall shortly appear, 
I pray you that are in authority over us, whom I reve- 
rence for your office' sake, to consider, (and not after th* 
manner of dissemblers with God,) are you " filled with 
the Holy Ghost ?" Are you lively portraitures of Him 
whom ye are appointed to represent among men ? "I 
have said, Ye are gods," ye magistrates and rulers ; ya 
are by office so nearly allied to the God of heaven 1 In 
your several stations and degrees, ye are to show forth 
unto us " the Lord our Governor." Are all the thoughts 
of your hearts, all your tempers and desires, suitable to 
your high calling ? Are all your words like unto those 
which come out of the mouth of God ? Is there in all 
your actions dignity and love ? a greatness which words 
cannot express, which can flow only from a heart full of 
God ; and yet consistent with the character of " man 
that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm ?" 

6. Ye venerable men, who are more especially called 
to form the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the 
shades of ignorance and error, and train them up to be 
wise unto salvation, are you "filled with the Holy 
Ghost?" with all those "fruits of the Spirit," which 
your important office so indispensably requires ? Is your 
jeart whole with God ? full of love and zeal to set up 
his kingdom on earth ? Do you continually remind 
those under your care, that the one rational end of all 
our studies, is to know, love, and serve " the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ?" Do you 
inculcate upon them, day by day, that love alone never 
faileth ; (whereas, whether there be tongues, they shall 
fail ; or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away ;) 
and that without love, all learning is but splendid igno- 
rance, pompous folly, vexation of spirit ? Has all you 
teach an actual tendency to the love of God, and of all 
mankind for his sake ? Have you an eye to this end in 
whatever yon prescribe, touching the kind, the manner, 
and the measure of their studies; desiring and labouring 

.hat, wherever the lot of these young soldiers of Chri*' 


is cast, they may be so many burning and shining lights, 
adorning the gospel of Christ in all things ? And per- 
mit me to ask, Do you put forth all your strength in the 
vast work you have undertaken ? Do you labour herein 
with all your might ? exerting every faculty of your 
soul ? using every talent which God hath lent you, and 
that to the uttermost of your power ? 

7. Let it not be said, that I speak here, as if all under 
your care were intended to be clergymen. Not so : I 
raly speak as if they were all intended to be Christians. 
But what example is set them by us who enjoy the 
beneficence of our forefathers? by fellows, students, 
scholars; more especially those who are of some rank 
and eminence ? Do ye, brethren, abound in the fruits 
of the Spirit, in lowliness of mind, in self-denial and 
mortification, in seriousness and composure of spirit, in 
patience, meekness, sobriety, temperance; and in un- 
wearied, restless endeavours to do good in every kind 
unto all men, to relieve their outward wants, and to bring 
their souls to the true knowledge and love of God ? Is 
this the general character of fellows of colleges '( I fear 
it is not. Rather, have not pride and haughtiness of 
spirit, impatience and peevishness, sloth and indolence 
gluttony and sensuality, and even a proverbial useless- 
ness, been objected to us, perhaps not always by our 
enemies, nor wholly without ground ? that God 
w^uld roll away this reproach from us, that the very 
memory of it might perish for ever ! 

8. Many of us are more immediately consecrated to 
God, called to minister in holy things. Are we then 
patterns to the rest, " in word, in conversation, in cha- 
rity, in spirit, in faith, in purity ?" (1 Tim. iv. 12.) Ii 
there written on our forehead and on our heart, " Holi- 
ness to the Lord V From what motives did we enter 
upon this office ? Was it indeed with a single eye " to 
serve God, trusting that we were inwardly moved by the 
Holy Ghost to take upon us this ministration, for the 
promoting of his glory, and the edifying ef his people ?" 
And have we " clearly determined, by God's grace, to< 


give ou. .-selves wholly to this office?" Do we forsake 
and set aside, as much as in us lies, all worldly cares and 
studies ? Do we apply ourselves wholly to this one thing, 
and draw all our cares and studies this way ? Are we 
apt to teach ? Are we taught of God, that we may be 
able to teach others also ? Do we know God ? Do we 
know Jesus Christ ? Hath " God revealed his Son in 
as ?" And hath he "made us able ministers of the new 
aovenant ?" Where then are the " seals of our apostle- 
ship ?" Who, that were dead in trespasses and sins, 
have been quickened by our word? Have we a burning 
leal to save souls from death, so that for their sake we 
often forget even to eat our bread ? Do we speak plain, 
" by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to 
every man's conscience in the sight of God ?" (2 Cor. 
iv. 2.) Are we dead to the world, and the things of the 
world, "laying up all our treasure in heaven ?" Do we 
lord over God's heritage ? Or are we the least, the ser- 
vants of all ? When we bear the reproach of Christ, 
Joes it sit heavy upon us? Or do we rejoice therein? 
When we are smitten on the one cheek, do we resent it ? 
Are we impatient of affronts ? Or do we turn the other 
also ; not resisting the evil, but overcoming evil with 
good ? Have we a bitter zeal, inciting us to strive 
oharply and passionately with them that are out of the 
way ? Or is our zeal the flame of love, so as to direct 
all our words with sweetness, lowliness, and meekness of 
wisdom ? 

9. Once more : what shall we say concerning the 
youth of this place ? Have you either the form or the 
power of Christian godliness ? Are you humble, teach- 
able, advisable ; or stubborn, self willed, heady, and 
high-minded ? Are you obedient to your superiors as to 
parents? Or do you despise those to whom you owe 
the tenderest reverence ? Are you diligent in your 
easy business, pursuing your studies with all your 
strength ? Do you redeem the time, crowding as muofa 
work into every day as it can contain ? Rather, are y« 
got conscious to yourselves, that you waste away dftj 


after day, either in reading what has no tendency tc 
Christianity, or in gaming, or in — you know not what ? 
Are you better managers of your fortune than of youi 
time ? Do you, out of principle, take care to owe nc 
man any thing ? Do you " remember the Sabbath-day, 
to keep it holy ;" to spend it in the more immediate 
worship of God ? When you are in his house, do yon 
c:nsider that G-od is there ? Do you behave " as seeing 
him that is invisible ?" Do you know how to " possess 
your bodies in sanctification and honour ?" Are not 
drunkenness and uncleanness found among you ? Yea, 
are there not of you who " glory in their shame ?" Do 
not many of you " take the name of God in vain," per- 
haps habitually, without either remorse or fear ? Yea, 
are there not a multitude of you that are forsworn ? I 
fear, a swiftly increasing multitude. Be not surprised, 
brethren. Before God and this congregation, I own 
myself to have been of the number, solemnly swearing 
to observe all those customs, which I then knew nothing 
of; and those statutes, which I did not so much as read 
over, either then, or for some years after. What is per- 
jury, if this is not ? But if it be, what a weight of 
sin, yea, sin of no common dye, lieth upon us ! And 
doth not the Most High regard it ? 

10. May it not be one of the consequences of this, 
that so many of you are a generation of triflers ; triflcrs 
with God, with one another, and with your own souls ? 
For, how few of you spend, from one week to another, 
a single hour in private prayer ! How few have any 
thought of God in the general tenor of your conversa- 
tion ! Who of you is in any degree acquainted with the 
work of his Spirit, his supernatural work in the souls of 
men? Can you hear, unless now and then in a church, 
any talk of the Holy Ghost ? Would you not take it 
for granted, if one began such a conversation, that it was 
either hypocrisy or enthusiasm 1 In the name of the 
Lord God Almighty, I ask, what religion are yon off 
Bven the talk of Christianity, ye cannot, will not bear 
6 rl 10 

96 bcripturaij Christianity. [her. iv 

O my brethren 1 what a Christian city is this ! " It i; 
riine for thee, Lord, to lay to thine hand !" 

11. For, indeed, what probability, what possibility, 
rather, (speaking after the manner of men,) is there that 
Christianity, scriptural Christianity, should be again the 
religion of this place ; that all orders of men among ut 
nhould speak and live as men " filled with the IIolj 
Qhost ?" By whom should this Christianity be restored i 
By those of you that are in authority ? Are you con 
vinced then that this is scriptural Christianity ? Are 
you desirous it should be restored ? And do ye not 
count your fortune, liberty, life, dear unto yourselves, 
so ye may be instrumental in the restoring of it? But 
suppose ye have this desire, who hath any power pro- 
portioned to the effect ? Perhaps some of you have 
mado a few faint attempts, but with how small success ? 
Shall Christianity then be restored by young, unknown, 
inconsiderable men ? I know not whether ye yourselves 
could suffer it. Would not some of you cry out, 
" Young man, in so doing, thou reproachest us ?" But 
there is no danger of your being put to the proof; so 
hath iniquity overspread us like a flood. Whom then 
shall God send ? the famine, the pestilence, (the last 
messengers of God to a guilty land,) or the sword, (" the 
armies of the" Bomish " aliens,") to reform us into our 
tirst love ? Nay, " rather let us fall into thy hand, 
Lord, and let us not fall into the hands of man." 

Lord, save, or we perish ! Take us out of the mire, 
that we sink not ! help us against these enemies ! 
For vain is the help of man. Unto thee all things are 
possible. According to the greatness of thy power, 
preserve thou those that are appointed to die ; and pre- 
serve us in the manner that seemeth to thee good ; nctt 
14 wc will, but as thou wilt! 


Ques. 1. (1.) What is said about the day of Pentecost? 

Ques. 2. (2.) Were these ordinary or extraordinary gifts? 

Ques. 3. (3.) Were all believers endowed with extraordi- 
nary gifts? 

Ques. 4. (3.) What is said of the continuance of the gifts 
of miracles and healing in the Church? 

Ques. 5. (4.) What is essential to all Christians in all ages? 

Ques. 6. (5.) Is Christianity a set of opinions, of holiness 
of heart and life? 

Ques. 7. (1. 1.) What is said of the individual life? 

Ques. 8. (I. 2.) What is the essence of this faith? 

Ques. 9. (I, 3.) What are the subjects of his rejoicing? 

Ques. 10. (I. 4.) Does this filial love increase? 

Ques. 11. (I. 5.) What love is caused by this love of God? 

Ques. 12. (I. 6.) What is said of humility, temperance, 

Ques. 13. (I. 7.) How does it influence his conduct toward 
his neighbor? 

Ques. 14. (1.8.) How does it influence his attendance upon 
the means of grace? 

Ques. 15. (I. 9.) Does it produce good works? 

Ques. 16. (I. 10.) What is said of Christianity in its rise? 

Ques. 17. (II. 1.) What is next considered? 

Ques. 18. (II. 2.) Is sympathy for others produced in be- 

Ques. 19. (II. 3.) What is said of the Christians of old? 

Ques. 20. (II. 4.) How did they manifest their love fa 
the gouls of men ? 

Ques. 21. (II. 5.) What was the result? 

7 P vol. i. (97) 


Ques. 22. (II. 6.) What effect was produced among u;v 

Ques. 23. (II. 7.) How did the early Christians suffer? 

Ques. 24. (II. 8.) Did these things check the gospel? 

Ques. 25. (II. 9.) What is said of the "mystery of iniquity?" 

Ques. 26. (III. .I ) V r; " Christianity prevail everywhere? 

Ques. 27. (III. 2.) What does the apostle say? 

Ques. 28. i'ITI. 3.) What picture does the preacher draw? 

Ques. 29. (III. 4.) What is the result in temporal things? 

Ques. 30. (III. 5.) What effect is produced in society? 

Ques. 31. (III. 6.) What is the state of such a people? 

Ques. 32. (IV. 1.) What inquiry is here made? 

Ques. 33. (IV 2.) What does he mean by the "last" 
time? Did he have some conception of the resentment of 
ihe University authorities for his plainness of speech ? 

Ques. 34. (IV 3.) What questions does he ask? Are these 
inquiries stated in offensive language? 

Ques. 35. (IV- 4.) To whom does he appeal? 

Ques. 36. (IV 5.) Are not these personal appeals in good 
taste, and kindly expressed? 

Ques. 37. (IV. 6.) How does he address the authorities? 

Ques. 38. (IV 7.) Is he speaking only of those intended 
to be clergymen? 

Ques. 39. (IV 8.) How does he address the ministers? 

Ques. 40. (IV 9.) How does he speak of the youth? 

Ques. 41. (IV 9.) What does he call many of them? 

Ques. 42. (IV 9.) What does lie mean by committing per- 
jury? Ans. That they took solemn oaths to obey the rides 
and statutes, and did not obey them. This strong language 
called their attention to a great offense, but it does not deserve 
to be called perjury in our sense of the term. What, then, i 
perjury? It is willfully swearing to what we know to be 
false. Mr. Wesley was as severe a critic of himself as of others. 

Ques. 43. (IV 10.) What does he call the youth? What 
conversation do they avoid? 

Ques. 44. (IV. 11.) How does the sermon conclude? 


In this and the seven sermons following Mr. Wesley ex- 
pounds the evangelical doctrines which form the basis of 
Methodist teaching. Justification by faith he presents in 
two aspects: 1. It is an act of God's pardoning grace, con- 
ditioned on faith. 2. It is a gift of righteousness or Tightness 
of relation to God received by us through faith. The next 
sermon (VI.) defines the antecedent steps to the attainment 
of this gracious state. In Sermon VII. we have these prin. 
ciples in their subjective character in personal experi- 
ences. Sermons VIII. and IX. are devoted to the fruits of the 
regenerating Spirit, or spirit of adoption which accompa- 
nies the act of faith, or trust. Sermons X., XI., and XII. 
contain the doctrine of the twofold assurance, or witness of 
this state of grace. 

Mr. Wesley regarded the circle of doctrines presented in 
these eight sermons as "articulus stanlis vel cadenlis ecclesice: 
The Christian Church stands or falls with it." In 1739 he 
published a work on "Justification by Faith," written by Dr. 
Barnes, and in 1743 his " Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason 
and Religion" contained a clear exposition of the doctrine. 
In these sermons, printed in 1747, he was simply defining 
the doctrines and teaching the same fundamental truths 
which his own experience had confirmed for nine years. 
They were not mere dogmas, to be accepted without influ- 
ence on the life, or rejected without injury to the soul. They 
were essential truths, and upon their acceptance depended 
the rise and growth of religion in the soul. 



On the 25th of June, 1744, Mr. Wesley held his first Con- 
ference. There were present the two Wesleys, and four 
other clergymen, and four lay preachers — ten persons in all. 
The first work of this Conference was the consideration of 
this doctrine, and the following important propositions were 
agreed upon: 

" 1. To be justified is to be pardoned and received into God's 

"2. Faith is the condition of justification. 

" 3. Repentance and works meet for repentance must go be- 
fore this faith. 

"4. Faith is a divine, supernatural evidence or conviction 
of things not seen; it is a spiritual sight of God and the 
things of God. First a sinner is convinced by the Holy 
Ghost. 'Christ loved me and gave himself for me.' This 
is that faith by which he is justified, or pardoned, the mo 
ment he receives it. Immediately the same Spirit bears 
witness, 'Thou art pardoned; thou hast redemption in his 
blood.' And this is saving faith, whereby the love of God 
is shed abroad in the heart. 

" 5. No man who hears the gospel can go to heaven with- 
out this faith, whatever a heathen may do." 

At the Conference of 1745 these positions were carefully 
reviewed and guarded as follows: 

"Q. Is a sense of God's pardoning love indispensably nec- 
essary to final salvation — suppose in a Papist or Quaker, 
or, in general, among those who never heard it preached? 

"A. Love hopeth all tilings. We know not how far any 
of these may fall under the case of invincible ignorance. 

" Q. Have we duly considered the case of Cornelius ? Was 
not he in the favor of Cod when 'his prayers and alms 
came up for a memorial before Cod?' — that i-^, before he be- 
lieved in Christ? 

"A. It does seem that lie was in some degree, but we speak 
not of those who have not heard the gospel. 

"Q. But were not those works of his 'splendid sins?" 



"A. No; nor were they done without the "race of Christ. 

" Q. How, then, can we maintain that all works done before 
we have a sense of the pardoning love of God are sins, and, 
as such, are an abomination to him? * 

"A. The works of him who has heard the gospel, and does 
not believe, are not done as God hath ' willed and command- 
ed them to be done.' And yet we knG.v not how to say 
that they are an abomination to the Lord in him who fear- 
eth God, and from that principle does tht. best he can." 

The Romanist teaching on the subject of justification was 
prevalent in many quarters at this time. According to thi& 
doctrine of the Council of Trent, sanctijkalion preceded jus- 
tification, and good works necessarily formed the basis or 
the inherent righteousness which in the Koman Oatnulic 
system was only another phrase for justiiication. The doc- 
trine of penance formed a species of personal atonement, 
whereby the sinner actually assumed the office and work of 
Christ, suffering the penalty of his sins, and thus, having 
exhausted the justice of God in personal punishment, the 
sinner became a righteous man. To counteract this and 
other errors, Mr. Wesley defines his doctrine, which is that 
of the Church of England, as follows: 

" 1. That no good work, properly so called, can go before 

"2. That no degree of true sanctification can be previous 
to it. 

" 3. That as the meritorious cause of justification is the 
life and death of Christ, so the condition of it is faith — faith 

"4. That both inward and 'outward holiness are conse- 
quent on this faith, and are the ordinary, stated condition of 
final justification." 

How may a sinner be justified before God ? Importance 
of the question, and confused notions regarding it. 


1. Ground of the doctrine of justification. Man created 
in God's image. Placed under a perfect law — a law of love 
and of positive command. Man violated tliis law. The 
consequences of this sin to Adam, to his posteritv. The 
gift of God's Son, and his atoning work. God's offer of 
pardon through him to the whole world. 

'J,. Justification defined. 

Not the heing made actually just or righteous. Not a 
clearing from accusation of Satan, or of the law. Does not 
imply that God is deceived when he justifies. The plain 
scriptural notion of justification is pardon, the forgiveness 
of sins. It is that act of God the Father whereby, for the 
sake of the propitiation made by the blood of his Son, he 
"sheweth forth his righteousness (or mercy) by the remis- 
sion of sins that are past." Justification in Scripture is 
sometimes referred to the day of judgment, hut more fre- 
quently is that which takes place at the beginning of the 
Christian life. 

3. 'Who are they that are justified? 

The ungodly. Hence not they who are sanctified. But 
the lost, the sick, the condemned. Good works, in the high- 
est sense of the term, do not precede but follow after justi- 

4. The terms of justification. 

Faith alone. Scripture proof of this. This faith defined 
as not only a divine evidence or conviction that "God was 
in Christ reconciling the world unto himself," but a sure 
trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that he 
loved me, and gave himself for we. This faith is the doc- 
trine of the Church of England. This is the necessary con- 
dition. The moment this faith is received it is "counted for 

The reason of this condition with God. But it hides 
pride from man. Exhortation to the ungodly to believe. 



' To him that worketh not, but btlieveth on him thft juitifielh th» 
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." — Rom. iv. 5. 

1. How a sinner may be justified before God, the 
Lord and Judge of all, is a question of no common im- 
portance to every child of man. It contains the foun- 
dation of all our hope, inasmuch as while we are at en- 
mity with God, there can be no true peace, no solid joy, 
either in time or in eternity. What peace can there be, 
while our own heart condemns us ; and much more, 
He that is "greater than our heart, and knoweth all 
things ?" What solid joy, either in this world or that 
to come,' while "the wrath of God abideth on us ?" 

2. And yet how little hath this important question 
been understood ! What confused notions have mar y 
had concerning it ! Indeed, not only confused, but often 
utterly false ; contrary to the truth, as light to darkness ; 
notions absolutely inconsistent with the oracles of God, 
and with the whole analogy of faith. And hence, erring 
concerning the very foundation, they could not possibly 
build thereon ; at least, not i< gold, silver, or precious 
stones," which would endure when tried as by fire ; but 
only " hay and stubble," neither acceptable to God, nor 
profitable to man. 

3. In order to do justice, as far as in me lies, to the 
vast importance of the subject, to save those that see> 
the truth in sincerity from "vain jangling and strife of 
words," to clear the confusedness of thought into which 
w many have already been led thereby, and to give then) 


iTue and just conceptions of this great mystery Df godli 
oess, I shall endeavour to show, 

First, What is the general ground of this whole do» 
trine of justification ; 

Secondly, What justification is ; 

Thirdly, Who they are that are justified ; and, 

Fourthly, On what terms they are justified. 

I. I am first to show what is the general ground of 
this whole doctrine of justification. 

1. In the image of God was man made ; holy as He 
that created him is holy ; merciful as the Author of all 
is merciful ; perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect. 
As God is love, so man, dwelling in love, dwelt in God, 
and God in him. God made him to be an " image of 
his own eternity," an incorruptible picture of the God 
of glory. He was accordingly pure, as God is pure, 
from every spot of sin. He knew not evil in any kind 
or degree, but was inwardly and outwardly sinless and 
undefiled. " He loved the Lord his God with all his 
heart, and with all his mind, and soul, and strength." 

2. To man, thus upright and perfect, God gave a per- 
fect law, to which he required full and perfect obedience 
He required full obedience in every point, and this tc 
be performed without any intermission, from the moment 
man became a living soul, till the time of his trial should 
be ended. No allowance was made for any falling short. 
As, indeed, there was no need of any ; man being alto- 
gether equal to the task assigned, and thoroughly fur- 
nished for every good word and work. 

3. To the entire law of love which was written in his 
heart, (against which, perhaps, he could not sin direct- 
ly,) it seemed good to the sovereign wisdom of God to 
superadd one positive law : " Thou shalt not eat of the 
fruit of the tree that groweth in the midst of the gar- 
den ;" annexing that penalty thereto, " In the day that 
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." 

4. Such then was the state of man in paradise. By 
the free, unmerited love of God he was holy and happy, 
he knew, loved, enjoyed God, which is, in substano 



life everlasting. And in this life of love he was to con- 
tinue for ever, if he continued to obey God in all things ; 
but if he disobeyed him in any, he was to forfeit all 
" In tbat day," said God, " thou shalt surely die." 

5. Man did disobey God. He " ate of the tree, of 
allien God commanded him, saying, Thou shalt not eat 
jf it." And in that day he was condemned by the 
righteous judgment of God. Then also, the sentence, 
whereof he was warned before, began to take place upon 
him. For the moment he tasted that fruit, he died. 
His soul died, was separated from God ; separate froa 
whom the soul has no more life than the body has when 
separate from the soul. His body, likewise, became 
corruptible and mortal ; so that death then took hold on 
chis also. And, being already dead in spirit, dead to 
God, dead in sin, he hastened on to death everlasting ; 
to the destruction both of body and soul, in the fire 
never to be quenched. 

6. Thus " by one man sin entered into the world, and 
death by sin. And so death passed upon all men," as 
being contained in him who was the common father and 
representative of us all. Thus, " through the offence of 
one," all are dead, dead to God, dead in sin, dwelling 
in a corruptible, mortal body, shortly to be dissolved, 
and under the sentence of death eternal. For as " by 
one man's disobedience" all " were made sinners ;" so, 
by that offence of one "judgment came upon all men 
to condemnation." (Rom. v. 12, &c.) 

7. In this state we were, even all mankind, when 
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life." In the fulness of time he was made man, 
another common Head of mankind, a second genera] 
parent and representative of the whole human race. 
And as such it was that " he bore our griefs," " the 
Lord laying upon him the iniquities of us all." Then 
was he " wounded for our transgressions, and bruised foi 
our iniquities." " He made his soul an offering foi 
•in :" he poured out his blood for the transgressors : b* 


bare " our sins in his own body on the tree," that bj 
his stripes we might be healed : and by that one obla- 
r.'.on of himself, once offered, he hath redeemed me and 
ail mankind ; having (hereby " made a full, perfect, and 
sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the 
whole world.'' 

8. In consideration of this, that the Son of God hatb 
" tasted death for every man," God hath now " recon- 
ciled the world to himself, not imputing to them their" 
former " trespasses." And thus, "as by the offence of 
one judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even 
bo by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon 
all men unto justification." So that, for the sake of 
his well-beloved Son, of what he hath done and suffered 
for us, God now vouchsafes, on one only condition, 
(which himself also enables us to perform,) both to remit 
the punishment due to our sins, to reinstate us in his 
favour, and to restore our dead souls to spiritual life, as 
the earnest of life eternal. 

9. This, therefore, is the general ground of the whole 
doctrine of justification. By the sin of the first Adam, 
who was not only the father, but likewise the repre- 
sentative, of us all, we all fell short of the favour of God ; 
we all became children of wrath ; or, as the apostle 
expresses it, "judgment came upon all men to condemna- 
tion." Even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the 
second Adam, as the representative of us all, God is so 
far reconciled to all the world, that he hath given them 
a new covenant; the plain condition whereof being once 
fulfilled, " there is no more condemnation" for us, but 
" we are justified freely by his grace, through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus Christ." 

II. 1. But what is it to be justified ? What is justi- 
fication ? This was the second thing which I proposed 
to show. And it is evident, from what has been already 
observed, that it is not the being made actually just and 
righteous. This is sanch'fication ; which is, indeed, in 
Borne degree, the immediate fruit of justification, but, 
nevertheless, is a distinct gift of God, and of a total h 


differeut nature. Tne one implies, what God dees foi 
us through his Son ; the other, what ho works in us by 
his Spirit. So that, although some rare instances may 
be found wherein the term justified or justification is 
used in so wide a sense as to include sanctification al«o ; 
yet, in general use, they are sufficiently distinguished 
from each other, both by St. Paul and the other inspired 

2. Neither is that far-fetched conceit, that justification 
is the clearing us from accusation, particularly that of 
Satan, easily provable from any clear text of holy writ. 
In the whole scriptural account of this matter, as above 
laid down, neither that accuser nor his accusation appears 
to be at all taken in. It cannot indeed be denied, that 
he is the " accuser" of men, emphatically so called 
Hut it does in nowise appear, that the great apostle 
hath any reference to this, more or less, in all that he 
hath written touching j ustification, either to the llomana 
or the Galatians. 

3. It is also far easier to take for granted, than to 
prove from any clear scripture testimony, that justifica- 
tion is the clearing us from the accusation brought 
against us by the law : at least, if this forced, unnatural 
way of speaking mean either more or less than this, that 
whereas we have transgressed the law of God, and thereby 
deserved the damnation, of hell, God does not inflict en 
those who are justified the punishment which ihev bad 

4. Least of all does justification imply, that God is 
deceived in those whom he justifies; that he think? 
them to be what, in fact, they .are not ; that he accounta 
them to be otherwise than they are. It does by no means 
imply, that God judges concerning us contrary to the 
real nature of things : that he esteems us better than we 
really are, or believes us righteous when we are un- 
righteous. Surely no. The judgment of the all-wiac 
Qod is always according to truth. Neither can it evei 
consist with his unerring wisdom, to think that I am in- 
nocent, to judge that I am righteous or holy, because 

108 JUSTifiCATlON BY FA1TU. L 8 Ett \ 

another is so. He can no more, in this manner, col. 
found ino with Christ, than with David or Abraham. 
Let any man, to whom God hath given understanding, 
weigh this without prejudice ; and he cannot but perceive, 
that such a notion of justification is neither reconcilable 
to reason nor Scripture. 

5. The plain scriptural notion of justification is par- 
don, the forgiveness of sins. Lt is that act of God the 
Father, whereby, for the sake of the propitiation made 
by the blood of his Son, he " showeth forth his right- 
eousness (or mercy) by the remission of the sins that are 
past." This is the easy, natural account of it given by 
St. Paul, throughout this whole epistle. So he explains 
it himself, more particularly in this and in the following 
chapter. Thus, in the next verses but one to the text, 
"Blessed are they," saith he, " whose iuiquities are for- 
given, and whose sins are covered : blessed is the man 
to whom the Lord will not impute sin." To him that 
is justified or forgiven, God " will not impute sin" tc 
his condemnation. He will not condemn him on that 
account, either in this world or in that which is to come. 
His sins, all his past sins, in thought, word, and deed, 
are covered, are blotted out, shall not be remembered o! 
mentioned against him, any more than if they had not 
been. God will not inflict on that sinner what he de- 
-v.rved to suffer, because the Son of his love hath suffered 
ibr him. And from the time we are "accepted through 
the Beloved," " reconciled to God through his blood," 
he loves, and blesses, and watches over us for good, even 
as if we had never sinned. 

Indeed the apostle in one place seems to extend the 
meaning of the word much farther, where he says, " Not 
the hearers of the law, but the doers of the law, shall 
be justified." Here he appears to refer our justification 
tc the sentence of the great day. And so our Lord him- 
self unquestionably doth, when he says, " By thy words 
thou shalt be justified;" proving thereby, that ''for 
every idle word men shall speak, they shall give an 
iccounl in the day of judgment :" hut perhaps we cau 


nardly produce another instance of St. Paul's using the 
word in that distant cense. In the general tenor of his 
writings, it is evident he doth not ; and least of all in the 
text before us, which undeniably speaks, not of those 
who have already " finished their course," but of those 
who are now Just setting out, just beginning to " run the 
race which is set before them." 

III. 1. But this is the third thing which was to lie 
considered, namely, Who are they that are justified f 
And the apostle tells us expressly, the ungodly : " He" 
(that is, God) " justifieth the ungodly;" the ungodly of 
every kind and degree; and none but the ungodly. As 
"they that are righteous need no repentance," so they 
need no forgiveness. It is only sinners that have any 
occasion for pardon ; it is sin alone which admits of 
being forgiven. Forgiveness, therefore, has an i in me- 
diate reference to sin, and, in this respect, to nothing 
else. It is our unrighteousness to which the pardoning 
God is merciful: it is our iniquity which he " remem- 
bercth no more." 

2. This seems not to be at all considered by those who 
so vehemently contend that a man must be sanctified, 
that is, holy, before he can be justified ; especially by 
such of them as affirm, that universal holiness or obedi 
ence must precede justification. (Unless they mean that 
justification at the last day, which is wholly out of the 
present question.) So far from it, that the very suppo- 
sition is not only flatly impossible, (for where there is no 
love of God, there is no holiness, and there is no love of 
God but from a sense of bis loving us,) but also grossly, 
intrinsically absurd, contradictory to itself. For it is not 
a saint but a sinner that is forgiven, and under the 
notion of a sinner. God justifieth not the godly, but 
the ungodly ; not those that are holy already, but the 
unholy. Upon what condition he doeth this, will be 
considered quickly : but whatever it is, it cannot be 
holiness. To assert this, is to say the Lamb of God takes 
iway only those sins which were taken away before. 

3. Does then the good Shepherd seek and save only 

l-o • 


those tha. are found already? No. He seeks *nd savei 
that which is lost. He pardons those who need his par- 
doning mercy. He saves from the guilt of sin (and, at 
the same time, from the power) sinners of every kind, of 
every degree ; men who till then were altogether un- 
godly ; in whom the love of the Father was not ; and, 
consequently, in whom dwelt no good thing, no good 01 
truly Christian temper; but all such as were evil and 
abominable, pride, anger, love of the world, the genuine 
fruits of that carnal mind which is " enmity against 

4. These who are sick, the burden of whose sins is 
intolerable, are they that need a physician ; these who 
arc guilty, who groan under the wrath of God, are they 
that need a pardon. These who are condemned already t 
not only by God, but also by their own conscience, as by 
a thousand witnesses, of all their ungodliness, both in 
thought, and word, and work, cry aloud for him that 
"justifieth the ungodly," through the redemption that 
is in Jesus; — the ungodly, and "him that workctL 
not ;" that worketh not, before he is justified, any thing 
that is good, that is truly virtuous or holy, but only 
evil continually. For his heart is necessarily, essen- 
tially evil, till the love of God is shed abroad therein. 
And while the tree is corrupt, so are the fruits; "for an 
evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit." 

5. If it be objected, " Nay, but a man, before he is 
justified, may feed the hungry, or clothe the naked ; and 
these are good works ;" the answer is easy : He may do 
these, even before he is justified ; and these are, in one 
sense, " good works," — they are " good and profitable to 
men." But it does not follow, that they are, strictly 
speaking, good in themselves, or good in the sight of 
God. All truly good works (to use the words of our 
Church) follow after justification ; and they are therefore 
good and "acceptable to God in Christ," because they 
" spring out of a true and living faith." By a parity of 
reason, all works done before justification are not goody 
in the Christian sense, forasmuch, as they spring not of 



faith in Jesus Christ; (though from some kind of faitb 
in God they may spring;) "yea, rather, for that they 
arc not done as God hath willed and commanded them 
to be done, we doubt not" (how strange soever it may 
appear to some) " but they have the nature of sin." 

6. Perhaps those who doubt of this have not duly 
considered the weighty reason which is here assigned, 
why no works done before justification can be truly and 
properly good. The argument plainly runs thus :- 

No works are good, which arc not done as God hath 
willed and commanded them to be done : 

But no works done before justification are done as God 
hath willed and commanded them to be done : 

Therefore, no works done before justification arc good 

The first proposition is self-evident ; and the second 
— that no works done before justification arc done as 
God hath willed and commanded them to be done — wilJ 
appear equally plain and undeniable, if we only consider. 
God hath willed and commanded, that all our worla 
should be done in charity, (ji> 070*5,) in love, in that 
love to God which produces love to all mankind. But 
none of our works can be done in this love, while the 
love of the Father (of God as our Father) is not in us ; 
and this love cannot be in us till we receive the " Spirit 
of adoption, crying in our hearts, Abba, Father." If, 
therefore, God doth not justify the ungodly, and him thai 
(in this sense) worketh not, then hath Christ died in vain ; 
then, notwithstanding his death, can no flesh living be 

IV. 1. But on what term* then is he justified, wno 
is altogether ungodly, and till that time worketh not t 
Ou one alone ; which is faith : ho " believeth in him 
that justifieth the ungodly." And " he that believeth 
in not condemned;" yea, he is " passed from death untc 
life." " For the righteousness (or mercy) of God is by 
faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that 
believe : — whom God hath set forth for a propitiation 
through faith in his blood ; that he might be just, knd" 
( consistently with his justice) " the Justifier of him whicb 



believetb iu Jesus:" "therefore, we conclude, that a mar 
is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law;" with 
out previous obedience to the moral law, which, indeed, 
he could not, till now, perform. That it is the moral 
law, and that alone, which is here intended, appears cvi- 
lently from the words that follow : — " Do we then make 
T-oid the law through faith ? God forbid ! Yea, we 
establish the law." What law do we establish by faith ? 
'Tot the ritual law : not the ceremonial law of Moses. 
,n nowise; but the great, unchangeable law of love, the 
noly love of God, and of our neighbour. 

2. Faith in general is a divine, supernatural tXfyxof, 
evufenrr. or conviction, " of things not seen," not dis- 
coverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, 
future, or spiritual. Justifying faith implies, not only a 
divine evidence or conviction that "God was in Christ, 
reconciling the world unto himself;" but a sure trust 
and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that he loved 
me, and gave himself for me. And at what time soever 
a sinner thus believes, be it in early childhood, in the 
strength of his years, or when he is old and hoary- 
headed, God justifieth that ungodly one : God, for the 
sake of his Son, pardoneth and absolveth him who had 
in him, till then, no good thing. Repentance, indeed, 
God had given him before ; but that repentance was 
neither more nor less than a deep sense of the want of 
all good, and the presence of all evil. And whatever 
good he hath, or doeth, from that hour, when he first 
believes in God through Christ, faith does not find, but 
bring. This is the fruit of faith. First the tree is good, 
and then the fruit is good also. 

3. I cannot describe the nature of this faith better 
than in the words of our own Church : " The only in- 
strument of salvation" (whereof justification is one 
br.anch) " is faith ; that is, a sure trust and confidonco 
that God both hath and will forgive our sins, that he 
hath accepted us again into his favour, for the merit* of 
Christ's death and passion. But here we must takt 
Wd that we do not halt with God, through an inccr 



gtant, wavering faith : Peter, coming to Christ upon th( 
water, because he fainted in faith, was in danger of 
drowning ; so we, if we begin to waver or doubt, it is to 
be feared that we shall sink as Peter did, not into the 
water, but into the bottomless pit of hell-fire." — Second 
Sermon on the Passion. 

" Therefore, have a sure and constant faith, not only 
that the death of Christ is available for all the world, 
but that he hath made a full and sufficient sacrifice for 
thee, a perfect cleansing of thy sins, so that thou mayest 
gay, with the apostle, he loved thee, and gave himself 
for thee. For this is to make Christ thine own, and to 
apply his merits unto thyself." — Sermon on the. Sacra- 
ment, First Part. 

4. By affirming that this faith is the term or condition 
of justification, I mean, first, that there is no justification 
without it. " He that believeth not is condemned 
already ;" and so long as he believeth not, that con- 
demnation cannot be removed, but " the wrath of God 
abideth on him." As " there is no other name given under 
heaven," than that of Jesus of Nazareth, no other merit 
whereby a condemned sinner can ever be saved from the 
guilt of sin ; so there is no other way of obtaining a 
share in his merit, than by faith in his name. So that 
as long as we are without this faith, we are " strangers 
to the covenant of promise," we are "aliens from the 
commonwealth of Israel, and without God in the world." 
Whatsoever virtues (so called) a man may have, — I speak 
of those unto whom the gospel is preached ; for " what 
have I to do to judge them th,at are without 1" — whatso 
ever good works (so accounted) he may do, it profitcth 
not ; he is still a child of wrath, still under the curse, 
till he believes in Jesus. 

5. Faith, therefore, is the necessary condition of justi- 
fication ; yea, and the only necessary condition thereof 
This is the second point carefully to be observed ; that, 
the very moment God giveth faith (for it, is the gift oj 
God) to the " ungodly" that " worketh not," that "faith 
* counted to him for righteousness." He hath no right 

8 G vol. I. " 2 u 


uousness at all, antecedent to this ; not eo much as m> 
gative righteousness, or innocence. But "faith is im- 
puted to him for righteousness" the very moment that 
he belie veth. Not that God (as was observed before) 
thinketh him to be what he is not. But as " he made 
Christ to be sin for us," that is, treated him as a sinner, 
punishing him for our sins ; so he counteth us righteous, 
from the time we believe in him : that is, he doth not 
punish us for our sins; yea, treats us as though we were 
guiltless and righteous. 

6. Surely the difficulty of assenting to this proposition 
— that faith is the only condition of justification — must 
arise from not understanding it. We mean thereby thus 
much, that it is the only thing without which none 
is justified ; the only thing that is immediately, indispen- 
sably, absolutely requisite in order to pardon. As, on 
the one hand, though a man should have every thing 
else without faith, yet he cannot be justified ; so, on 
the other, though he be supposed to want every thing 
else, yet if he hath faith, he cannot but be justified. For 
suppose a sinner of any kind or degree, in a full sense of 
his total ungodliness, of his utter inability to think, 
speak, or de good, and his absolute mcetnessfor hell-fire ; 
suppose, I say, this sinner, helpless and hopeless, casts 
himself wholly on the mercy of God in Christ, (which 
indeed he cannot do but by the grace of God,) who can 
doubt but he is forgiven in that moment ? Who will 
affirm that any more is indispensably required, before 
that sinner can be justified '( 

Now, if there ever was one such instance from the be- 
ginning of the world, (and have there not been, and 
are there not, ten thousand times ten thousand ?) it plainly 
follows, that faith is, in the above sense, the sole oondi 
tion of justification. 

7. It docs not become poor, guilty, sinful worms, whe 
rt.ceivc whatsoever blessings they enjoy, (from the leasl 
drop of water that cools our tongue, to the immense 
riches of glory in eternity,) of grace, of mere favour, and 
not of debt, to ask of God the reasons of his conduct 


It is not meet for us to call Him in question, " wtu 
giveth an account to none of his ways;" to demand, Wlij 
didst thou make faith the condition, the only condition 
of justification ? Wherefore didst thou decree, He thai 
bdievcih, and he only, shall be saved ? This is the very 
point on which St. Paul so strongly insists in the ntDth 
chapter of this epistle ; viz. that the terms of pardon 
and acceptance must depend, not on us, but on him thai 
calleth us ; that there is no unrighteousness with God, in 
fixing his own terms, not according to ours, but his own 
good pleasure; who may justly say, "I will have mercv 
on whom I will have mercy," namely, on him who be- 
lieveth in Jesus. " So then it is not of him that willcth, 
nor of him that runneth," to choose the condition on 
which he shall find acceptance ; " but of God that show- 
eth mercy ;" that accepteth none at all, but of his own 
free love, his unmerited goodness. " Therefore. hath he 
mercy on whom he will have mercy," viz. on those whc 
believe on the Son of his love; "and whom he will," 
that is, those who believe not, "he hardencth," leave? 
at last to the hardness of their hearts. 

8. One reason, however, we may humbly conceive, of 
God's fixing this condition of justification, "If thou be- 
lievest in the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved," 
was to hide pride from man. Pride had already de 
stroyed the very angels of God ; had cast down " a third 
part of the stars of heaven." It was likewise in great 
measure owing to this, when the tempter said, "Ye shall 
be as gods," that Adam fell from his own steadfastness, 
and brought sin and death iiito the world. It was there- 
fore an instance of wisdom worthy of God, to appoint 
Such a condition of reconciliation for him and all his 
posterity, as might effectually humble, might abase them 
to the dust. And such is faitli. It is peculiarly fitted 
for this end : for he thatconieth unto God by this faith, 
must fix his eye singly on his own wickedness, on his 
guilt and helplessness, without having the least regard 
to any supposed good in himself, to any virtue or right 
tousness whatsoever. He must come as a mere sinner 


inwardly and outwardly, self-destroyed ajid Belf-oon 
demned, bringing nothing to God but ungodliness only, 
pleading nothing of bis own but sin and misery. Thus 
it is, and thus alone, when his mouth is stopped, and Ik 
stands utterly guilty before God, that he can look unto 
Jesus, as the whole and sole propitiation for his aiitt. 
Thus only can he be found in him, and receive the 
' righteousness which is of God by faith." 

9. Thou ungodly one, who hearest or readest these 
words ! thou vile, helpless, miserable sinner ! I charge 
thee before God, the Judge of all, go straight unto him, 
with all thy ungodliness. Take heed thou destroy not 
thy own soul by pleading thy righteousness, more or 
less. Go as altogether ungodly, guilty, lost, destroyed, 
deserving and dropping into hell; and thou shalt then 
find favour in his sight, and know that he justifieth the 
ungodly. As such thou shalt be brought unto the b/oml 
of sprinkling, as an undone, helpless, damned sinner 
Thus look unto Jesus! There is the Lamb of God who 
taketh away thy sins! Plead thou no works, no righteous- 
ness of thine own ! no humility, contrition, sincerity ' 
lu nowise. That were, in very deed, to deny the Lord 
that bought thee. No : plead thou singly the blood of 
the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud, stubborn, 
sinful soul. Who art thou, that now scest and feelest 
both thine inward and outward ungodliness? Thou art 
the man ! I want thee for my Lord ! 1 challenge thee 
for a child of God by faith ! The Lord hath need of 
thee. Thou who feelest thou art just fit for hell, art 
just fit to advance his glory ; the glory of his free grace, 
justifying the ungodly and him that worketh not. Oh, 
some quickly ! believe iu the Lord Jesus, and thou, cvcp 
Ihou, art reconciled to God 


Ques. 1. (If 1.) To whom is the question here propounded 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) Has it been clearly understood? 

Ques. 3. (f 3.) How is the discourse divided? 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What was the state of the first man? 

Ques. 5. (I. 2.) What was the law given to himP 

Ques. 6. (I. 3.) What was prohibited? 

Ques. 7. (I. 4.) What was the state of Adam under this 

Ques. 8. (I. 5.) How did he violate it? 

Ques. 9. (I. 6.) What was the result? 

Ques. 10. (I. 7.) What did God do for the lost world? 

Ques. 11. (I. 8.) What was the work of Christ? 

Ques. 12. (I. 9.) What is the ground of the doctrine of 
justification ? 

Ques. 13. (II. 1.) What is it to be justified? 

Ques. 14. (II. 2.) Is man cleared from accusation? What 
does he call this theory? 

Ques. 15. (II. 3.) Does justification clear us from the law? 

Ques. 16. (II. 4.) What is least of all implied in justifi- 
cation ? 

Ques. 17. (II. 5.) What is the plain scriptural notion? 

Ques. 18. (III. 1.) Who are the justified? 

Ques. 19. (III. 2.) Does sanctification precede justification? 

Ques. 20. (III. 3.) Whom does the Good Shepherd seek? 

Ques. 21. (III. 4.) Who are they that need a physician? 

Ques. 22. (III. 5.) What answer is made to the objection" 

Ques. 23. (III. 6.) What syllogism does he give? 



Ques. 24. (IV- 1.) What are the terms of this justification? 

Ques. 25. (IV. 2.) How is this faith defined ? 

Ques. 26. (IV 3.) What quotation does he make from tne 
"Homilies of the Church of England?" What are these 
"Homilies?" Aus. Sermons written by Cranmer and others 
in the days of King Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth, and 
appointed by royal authority to be read in the churches. 

Ques. 27. Why were these sermons appointed to be read 
in the churches? Ans. On account of the scarcity of per- 
sons competent to preach, and in order to establish uniform- 
ity of doctrinal teaching in the Church of England. 

Ques. 28. (IV 4.) What is meant by faith is "the term, 
or condition, of justification?" 

Ques. 29. (IV- 5.) How does he emphasize its importance? 

Ques. 30. (IV. 6.) How does the difficulty of assenting to 
this proposition arise? 

Ques. 31. (IV 7.) How does he defend the divine wisdom 
in the appointment of this means? 

Ques. 32. (TV 8.) What reason may be given for its ap- 

Ques. 33. Are not the way of salvation and the terms, or 
condition, by which it is obtained solely matters of divine 

Ques. 34. (IV. 9.) How is the sermon concluded? 


This sermon is complementary to the preceding. It brings 
to view the teaching which, in the language of Mr. Wesley, 
was "within a hair-breadth of Calvinism." It is not Cal- 
vinism, however, and it is important that the line of dis- 
tinction should be clearly drawn. In order to show where- 
in Mr. Wesley and the Calvinists did agree, the following 
conversation will serve a good purpose. The celebrated 
Charles Simeon, a minister of the "Evangelical School" in 
the Church of England, met Mr. Wesley in 1787. Mr. 
Simeon was in his twenty-eighth year, and Mr. Wesley in 
his eighty-fourth. 

"Sir," said young Simeon, "I understand you are called 
an Arminian. Now I am sometimes called a Calvinist, and 
therefore, I suppose, we are to draw daggers. But, before I 
begin to combat, with your permission I will ask you a few 
questions, not from impertinent curiosity, but for real in- 
struction. Pray, sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creat- 
ure, so depraved that you would never have thought of 
turning to God if God had nof put it into your heart?" 

" Yes," said the veteran, " I do indeed." 

"And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself 
to God by any thing that you can do, and look for salvation 
solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?" 

"Yes, solely through Christ." 

" But, sir, suppose you were first saved by Christ, are you 



not somehow or other to save yourself afterward by your 
good works ? " 

"No; I must be saved by Christ from first to last." 

"Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace 
of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself 
by your own power?" 

" No." 

" What, then ? Are you to be upheld every hour and every 
moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother's arms?" 

" Yes, altogether." 

"And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to 
preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom?" 

" Yes, I have no hope but in him." 

" Then, sir, with your leave, I will .put up my daggei 
again, for this is all my Calvinism ; this is my election, my 
justification, my final perseverance. It is in substance all 
that I hold, and as I hold it; and, therefore, if you please, 
instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground 
of contention between us, we will cordially unite in these 
things wherein we agree." 

This is excellent, if we can overlook the seeming egotism 
which prompted a youth of twenty-eight to catechise a man 
of eighty-four after this sort. But the view here given is 
important. It shows that Mr. Simeon knew little or noth- 
ing of the writings of Arminius, for every thing which is 
here called Calvinism is taught in the writings of Arminius, 
and taught more distinctly and more consistently than in the 
works of Calvin. Wherein, then, existed the difference in 
the two systems ? In this chiefly: that whereas the enabling 
or preventing grace which enabled Mr. Wesley to believe and 
see himself a sinner is given to all men who hear the gospel, 
according to Arminius, but only to the elect, according to 
Calvin. So that, according to Arminius, while some believe, 
others do not, and the salvation of believers is hence of grace 
only, whilst the exclusion of the impenitent is due solely to 
unbelief. According to the Arminian system, God is glorified 


by the salvation of those that believe, and only the sinner can 
be blamed for his refusal to believe. On the other hand, Cal- 
vinism makes the election of the few, and the rejection of 
the many, solely the work of God. 

This text does not contrast the covenant given by Moses 
with the covenant of grace by Christ. Christ's covenant of 
grace covers all ages since the fall. But the Jews, igno- 
rant of the gracious character of the Mosaic covenant, went 
about to establish a legal righteousness of their own. Legal 
righteousness was given, not to Moses, but to Adam. So 
now many men refuse to submit to the righteousness of 
faith, and are seeking a legal righteousness. 

I. The contrast of the two righteousnesses. 

That of the law demands obedience, universal, perfect, un- 
interrupted. That of faith is given, not to man in innocence, 
but to fallen man, and demands not unswerving obedience, 
or any other impossibility. It does not command us to do, 
but to believe. 

The one finds man holy and in God's favor, and prescribes 
—what is now far off from man — universal, perfect, uninter- 
rupted obedience as the condition of continuance in God's 
favor. The other finds man fallen under God's wrath, and 
prescribes faith as the condition of recovery of God's favor. 

II. The application. 

1. The folly of those seeking legal righteousness. They 
begin wrong, for they are not now innocent. They undertake 
what they are not able to perform — perfect obedience. They 
presume to meet God, not as a* God of mercy, but of rigid 

2. The wisdom of those who seek the righteousness of 
faith. They acknowledge their true condition, both past, 
present, and future, and they humbly and thankfully come 
to God in God's way of mercy. 

III. The Exhortation. 


Say not, " I must first do this, conquer sin, use means ; " nor, 
" I am not good enough, contrite enough, or sufficiently sen- 
sible of sin ; " nor yet, " I must do something, or be more sin- 
cere; " but, "at this present moment, in thy present state, just 
as thou art," believe thou the gospel. 


tiERMo* Vi. 


tfotet dacribeth the righteousness which is of the law, That Ik* 

man which doeth thost things shall live by them. 
" But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say 

not in thine heart. Who shall ascend into heaven t (that is, to 

bring Christ down from above :) 
" Or, who shall descend into the deep f (that is, to bring up Christ 

again from the dead.) 
* But what sailh itf The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, 

and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach." — 

Romans x. 6-8. 

1. Tue apostle does not here oppose the covenant 
given by Moses, to the covenant given by Christ. If 
we over imagined this, it was for want of observing, that 
the latter as well as the former part of these words were 
spoken by Moses himself to the people of Israel, and 
that concerning the covenant which then was. (Deut. 
xxx. 11, 12, 14.) But it is the covenant of grace, which 
God, through Christ, hath established with men in all 
ages, (as well before and under the Jewish dispensation 
us since God was manifest in the flesh,) which St. Pau' 
here opposes to the covenant of works, made with Adam 
while in paradise, but commonly supposed to be the 
only covenant which God had made with man, particu- 
larly by those Jews of whom the apostle writes. 

2. Of these it was that he so affectionately speaks in 
the beginning of this chapter : " My heart's desire and 
prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved. 
For I bear them record that they have a zeal for God 
but not according to knowledge. For they being ign' 

6 • 


rani of God's righteousness," (of the justification that 
flows from his mere grace and mercy, freely forgiving 
our sins through the Son of his love, through the re- 
demption which is in Jesus,) " and seeking to establish 
their own righteousness," (their own holiness, antecedent 
to faith in " him that justifieth the ungodly,'' as the 
ground of their pardon and acceptance,) " have not sub- 
mitted themselves unto the righteousness of God," and 
consequently seek death in the error of their life. 

3. They were ignorant that "Christ is the end of the 
law for righteousness to every one that believeth ;" — 
that by the oblation of himself once offered, he had put 
an end to the first law or covenant, (which, indeed, was 
not given by God to Moses, but to Adam in his state of 
innocence,) the strict tenor whereof, without any abate- 
ment, was, " Do this, and live ;" and, at the same time; 
purchased for us that better covenant, " Believe, and 
live ;" believe, and thou shalt be saved; now saved, both 
from the guilt and power of sin, and, of consequence, 
from the wages of it. 

4. And how many are equally ignorant now, even 
among those who are called by the name of Christ ! 
How many who have now a " zeal for God," yet have it 
not " according to knowledge ;" but are still seeking " to 
establish their own righteousness," as the ground of 
their pardon and acceptance ; and therefore vehemently 
refuse to " submit themselves unto the righteousness of 
God !" Surely my heart's desire, and prayer to God for 
you, brethren, is, that ye may be saved. And, in order 
to remove this grand stumbling-block out of your way, 
I will endeavour to show, first, what the righteousness h 
which is of the law ; and what "the righteousness which 
is of faith ;" secondly, the folly of trusting in the right- 
eousness of the law, and the wisdom of submitting to that 
which is of faith. 

I. 1. And, first, " the righteousness which is of the 
law saith, The man which docth these things shall live 
by them." Constantly and perfectly observe all these 
things to do them, and then thou shalt live for evrr 



This law or covenant, (usually called the covenant of 
works,) given by God to man in Paradise, required an 
obedience perfect in all its parts, entire and wanting 
nothing, as the condition of his eternal continuance in 
the holiness and happiness wherein he was created. 

2. It required that man should fulfil all righteousness, 
inward and outward, negative and positive : that he 
should not only abstain from every idle word, and avoid 
every evil work, but should keep every affection, every 
desire, every thought, in obedience to the will of God : 
that he should continue holy, as He which had created 
him was holy, both in heart, and in all manner of con- 
versation : that he should be pure in heart even as God 
is pure j perfect as his Father in heaven was perfect : 
that he should love the Lord his God with all his heart, 
with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all h ? 
strength; that, he should love every soul which God had 
made, even as God had loved him : that by this univer- 
sal benevolence, he should dwell in God, (who is love,) 
and God in him : that he should serve the Lord his God 
with all his strength, and in all things singly aim at his 

3. These were the things which the righteousness ol 
the law required, that he who did them might live 
thereby. But it further required, that this entire obe- 
dience to God, this inward and outward holiness, this 
conformity both of heart and life to his will, should be 
perfect in deyree. No abatement, no allowance could 
possibly be made for falling short in any degree, as to 
any jot or tittle, cither of the gutward or the inward law. 
If every commandment relating to outward things was 
obeyed, yet that was not sufficient, unless every one was 
obeyed with all the strength, in the highest measure, and 
most perfect manner. Nor did it answer the demand of 
this covenant, to love God with every power and faculty, 
unless he were loved with the full capacity of each, v?ith 
the whole possibility of the soul. 

4. One thing more was indispensably required by the 
righteousness of the law ; namely, that this universal 


obedience, this perfect holiness, both cf heart and lite, 
should be perfectly uninterrupted also, should continue 
without any intermission, from the moment wherein God 
created man, and breathed into his nostrils the breath 
of life, until the days of his trial should be ended, and he 
should be confirmed in life everlasting. 

5. The righteousness, then, which is of the law, 
gpeaketh on this wise : " Thou, man of God, stand fast 
in love, in the image of God wherein thou art made. 
If thou wilt remain in life, keep the commandments, 
which are now written in thy heart. Love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart. Love, as thyself, every soul 
that he hath made. Desire nothing but God. Aim ai 
God in every thought, in every word and work. Swervt 
not in one motion of body or soul, from him, thy mark, 
and the prize of thy high calling; and let all that is in 
thee praise his holy name, every power and faculty of 
thy soul, in every kind, in every degree, and at every 
moment of thine existence. ' This do, and thou shalt 
live :' thy light shall shine, thy love shall flame, more 
and more, till thou art received up into the house of God 
in the heavens, to reign with him for ever and ever." 

6. " But the righteousness which is of faith spcaketh 
on this wise : Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend 
into heaven? that is, to bring down Christ from above;" 
(as though it were some impossible task which God re- 
quired thee previously to perform, in order to thine 
acceptance;) " or, Who shall descend into the deep? that 
is, to bring up Christ from the dead ;" (as though that 
were still remaining to be done, for the sake of which 
thou wert to be accepted ;) " but what saith it ? The 
word," according to the tenor of which thou mayest now 
be accepted as an heir of life eternal, " is nigh thee, 
even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of 
faith, which we preach," the new covenant which God 
hath now established with sinful man through Christ 

7. By '* the righteousness wnich is of faith," is meant 
that condition of justification (and, in conse>queoco, of 


present and final salvation, if we endure therein untfl 
the end) which was given by God to fallen man, through 
the merits and mediation of his only-begotten Son. This 
iras in part revealed to Adam, soon after his fall ; beiug 
contained in the original promise, made to him, and hie 
seed, concerning the seed of the woman, who should 
"bruise the serpent's head." (Gen. iii. 15.) It was * 
little more clearly revealed to Abraham, by the angdl 
of God from heaven, saying, " By myself have I sworn, 
eaith the Lord, that in thy seed shall all the nations of 
the world be blessed." (Gen. xxii. 16, 18.) It was yet 
more fully made known to Moses, to David and to the 
prophets that followed; and, through them, to many of 
the people of God in their respective generations. But 
still the bulk even of these were ignorant of it ; and 
very few understood it clearly. Still " life and immortali- 
ty" were not so " brought to light," to the Jews of old, 
as they are now unto us " by the gospel." 

8. Now this covenant saith not to sinful man, " Per- 
form unsinning obedience, and live." If this were the 
term, he would have no more benefit by all which Christ 
hath done and suffered for him, than if he was required, 
in order to life, to "ascend into heaven, and bring down 
Christ from above;" or to "descend into the deep," into 
the invisible world, and "bring up Christ from the 
dead." It doth not require any impossibility to be 
done : (although, to mere man, what it requires would 
be impossible ; but not to man assisted by the Spirit of 
God :) this were only to mock human weakness. Indeed, 
strictly speaking, the covenant of grace doth not require 
us to do any thing at all, as absolutely and indispensa- 
bly necessary in order to our justification ; but only to 
btlieve in Him, who, for the sake of his Son, and the 
propitiation which he hath made, "justifieth the ungodly 
that wirketh not," and imputes his faith to him for 
righteousness. Even so Abraham " believed in the 
Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen. 
xv. 6.) " And he received the sign of circumcision, a 
«e»l of the righteousness of faith, — that be might be th* 

I.— H 


father of all them that believe, — that righteousness might 
be imputed unto them also." (Rom. iv. 11 ) "Now it 
was not written for his sake alone, that it" (that is, faith) 
" was imputed to him ; but for us also, to whom it shall 
be imputed," to whom faith shall be imputed for right- 
eousness, shall stand in the stead of perfect obedience, 
in order to our acceptance with God, " if wc believe on 
him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead ; who 
was delivered" to death "for our offences, and was raised 
again for our justification :" (Rom. iv. 23-25 :) for the 
assurance of the remission of our sins, and of a second 
life to come, to them that believe. 

9. What saith then the covenant of forgiveness, of 
unmerited love, of pardoning mercy ? " Believe in the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." In the 
day thou believest thou shalt surely live. Thou shalt 
be restored to the favour of God; and in his pleasure is 
life. Thou shalt be saved from the curse, and from the 
wrath of God. Thou shalt be quickened from the death 
>>f sin into the life of righteousness. And if thou endure 
to the end, believing in Jesus, thou shalt never taste the 
second death ; but, having suffered with thy Lord, shah 
also live and reign with him for ever and ever. 

10. Now "this word is nigh thee." This condition 
of life is plain, easy, always at hand. " It is in thy 
mouth, and in thy heart," through the operation of the 
Spirit of God. The moment " thou believest in thine 
heart," in him whom God " hath raised from the dead," 
xnd " confessest with thy mouth the Lord Jesus," as thy 
Lord and thy God, "thou shalt be saved" from con 
lemnation, from the guilt and punishment of thy formei 
»ins, and shalt have power to serve God in true holiness 
\11 the remaining days of thy life. 

11. What is the difference, then, between the " right- 
eousness which is of the law," and the " righteousness 
which is of faith ?" between the first covenant, or the 
covenant, of works, and the second, the covenant of 
grace / The essential, unchangeable difference is this : 
the one supposes him to whom it is given, to Ite already 


holy and hnppy, created in the image and enjoying thi 
favour of God ; and prescribes the condition whereon he 
may continue therein, in love and joy, life and immor- 
tality : the other supposes him to whom it is given, to 
je now unholy and unhappy, fallen short of the glorious 
image of God, having the wrath of God abiding on him, 
and hastening, through sin, whereby his soul is dead, to 
bodily death, and death everlasting ; and to man in this 
Btate it prescribes the condition whereon he may regain 
the pearl he has lost, may recover the favour and imago 
of God, may retrieve the life of God in his soul, and be 
.estored to the knowledge and the love of God, which is 
tbc bcgiuiiing of life eternal. 

12. Again : the covenant of works, in order to man's 
tontinuance in the favour of God, in his knowledge and 
love, in holiness and happiness, required of perfect man 
a perfect and uninterrupted obedience to every point of 
the law of God. Whereas, the covenant of grace, in 
order to man's recovery of the favour and the life of 
God, requires only faith; living faith in him, who, 
through God, justifies him that obeyed not. 

13. Yet, again : the covenant of works required of 
Adam, and all his children, to pay the price themselves, 
•n consideration of which they were to receive all the 
future blessings of God. But in the covenant of grace, 
seeing we have nothing to pay, God " frankly forgives 
is all :" provided only, that we believe in him who hath 
paid the price for us; who hath given himself a " pro- 
pitiation for our sins, for the sins of the whole world." 

14. Thus the first covenant required what is now afat 
off from all the children of men ; namely, unsinning 

bedience, which is far from those who arc " conceived 
and born in sin." Whereas, the second requires what 
* nigh at hand; as though it should say, "Thou art 
lin ! God is love ! Thou by sin art fallen short of the 
glory of God ; yet there is mercy with him. Bring then 
all thy sins to the pardoning God, and they shall vanish 
away as a cloud. If thou wert not ungodly, there would 
w no room for him to justify thee as ungodly. But 
9 H vol. I. • 


now draw near iti full assurance of faith. He spcaketh, 
and it is done. Fear hot, only believe ; for even the 
just God justifieth all that believe in Jesus." 

II. 1. These things considered, it would be easy to 
show, as I proposed to do in the second place, the folly 
of trusting in the " righteousness which is of the law," 
and the wisdom of submitting to the " righteousness 
which is of faith." 

The folly of those who still trust in the " righteous- 
ness which is of the law," the terms of which are, " Do 
this, and live," may abundantly appear from hence: they 
Bet out wrong ; their very first step is a fundamental 
mistake : for, before they can ever think of claiming anv 
blessing on the terms of this covenant, they must sup- 
pose themselves to be in his state with whom this cove- 
nant was made. But how vain a supposition is this ; 
since it was made with Adam in a state of innocence ! 
How weak, therefore, must that whole building be, which 
stands on such a foundation ! And how foolish arc they 
who thus build on the sand ; who seem never to have 
considered, that the covenant of works was not given to 
man when he was " dead in trespasses and sius," but 
when he was alive to God, when he knew no sin, but 
was holy as God is holy j who forget, that it was never 
designed for the recovery of the favour and life of God 
once lost, but only for the continuance and increase 
thereof, till it should be complete in life everlasting. 

2. Neither do they consider, who are thus seeking to 
establish their "own righteousness, which is of the law," 
what manner of obedience or righteousness that is which 
the law indispensably requires. It must be perfect ami 
entire in every point, or it answers not the demand of 
the law. But which of you is able to perform sui-1. 
obedience 'I or, consequently, to live thereby '( Who 
among you fullils every jot and tittle even of the outward 
commandments of God '{ doing nothing, great or small, 
*hicb God forbids!' leaving nothing undone which hr 
t-njoius ? speaking no idle word f having your conversa- 
tion always " meet to minister grace to the hfarorar"' 



and, " wlietlicr ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, 
doing all to the glory of God '(" And how much lew 
are you able to fulfil all the inward commandments of 
God ! those which require, that every temper and met ion 
of your soul should be holiness unto the Lord ! Aro 
you able to " love God with all your heart ?" to love ali 
mackiud as your own soul ? to " pray without ceasing i 
in every thing to give thanks ?" to have God always bo- 
fore you ? and to keep every affection, desire, a'.j 
thought in obedience to his law ? 

3. You should further consider, that the righteousness 
of the law requires, not only the obeying every command 
of God, negativt and positive, internal and external, but 
likewise in the perfect degree. In every instance what- 
ever, the voice of the law is, "Thou shalt serve the Lord 
thy God with all thy strength." It allows no abatement 
of any kind : it excuses no defect j it condemns every 
coming short of the full measure of obedience, and im- 
mediately pronounces a curse on the offender : it regards 
only the invariable rules of justice, and saith, " I know 
not to show mercy." 

4. Who then can appear before such a Judge, who is 
"extreme to mark what is done amiss?" How weak 
are they who desire to be tried at the bar where " no 
flesh living can be justified !" — none of the offspring of 
Adam. Tor, suppose we did now keep every command- 
ment with all our strength; yet one single breach, which 
ever was, utterly destroys our whole claim to life. If 
we have ever offended in any one point, this righteous 
ncss is at an end. For the law condemns all who do not 
oerform uninterrupted as well as perfect obedience. St 
that, according to the sentence of this, for him who hath 
once sinned, in any degree, " there remaineth only a 
fearful looking for of fiery indignation, which shall 
levour the adversaries" of God. 

5. Is it not then the very foolishness of folly, for fall- 
en man to seek life by this righteousness? for man, whe 
was " shap"n in wickedness, and in sin did his mothoi 
•onceive him?" man, who is, by nature, all " »arth!v, 

8 2 H 


rtvnsual, devilish;" altogether "corrupt and abomiua 
ble ;" in whom, till he find grace, " dwelleth no good 
thing ;" nay, who cannot of himself think one good 
thought ; who is indeed all sin, a mere lump of ungod 
liness, and who commits sin in every breath he draws ; 
whose actual transgressions in word and deed are more 
in number than the hairs of his head ? What stupidity 
what senselessness must it be for such an unclean, guilty, 
helpless worm as this, to dream of seeking acceptance 
by his own righteousness, of living by " the righteous- 
ness" which " is of the law !" 

6. Now, whatsoever considerations prove the folly of 
trusting in the " righteousness which is of the law," 
prove equally the wisdom of submitting to the " right- 
eousness which is of God by faith." This were easy to 
be shown with regard to each of the preceding considera- 
tions. But to waive this, the wisdom of the first step 
hereto, the disclaiming our own righteousness, plainly 
appears from hence, that it is acting according to truth, 
to the real nuture of things. For, what is it more than 
to acknowledge with our heart, as well as lips, the true 
state wherein we are ? to acknowledge that we bring 
with us into the world a corrupt, sinful nature; more 
corrupt, indeed, than we can easily conceive, or find 
words to express ? that hereby we are prone to all that 
is evil, and averse from all that is good : that we are full 
~>f pride, self-will, unruly passions, foolish desires, vile 
and inordinate affections : lovers of the world, lovers of 
pleasure more than lovers of God ? that our lives have 
been no better than our hearts, but many ways ungodly 
and unholy, insomuch that our actual sins, both in word 
and deed, have been as the stars of heaven for multitude; 
that, on all these accounts, we are displeasing to ilim 
who is of purer eves than to behold iniquity, and ueserve 
nothing from him but indignation and wratb aDO ueath, 
the due wages of sin ? that we cannot, Dy any of our 
righteousness, (for indued we have none at ail,) nor by 
»ny of our works, (for they arc as the tree upon which 
'.hey grow,) appease the wrath of God, or avert rb» 


pnuishment we have justly deserved ; yea, that, if left to 
ourselves, we shall only wax worse and worse, sink 
deeper and deeper into sin, offend God more and more, 
both with our evil works, and with the evil tempers of 
our carnal mind, till we fill up the measure of our ini- 
quities, and bring upon ourselves swift destruction ? 
And is not this the very state wherein by nature we are f 
To acknowledge this, then, both with our heart and lips, 
dhat is, to disclaim our own righteousness, " the right- 
eousness which is of the law," is to act according to the 
real nature of things, and, consequently, is an instance 
of true wisdom. 

7. The wisdom of submitting to " the righteousness 
of faith" appears, further, from this consideration, thati* 
is the righteousness of God ; I mean here, it is thai 
method of reconciliation with God which hath been 
chosen and established by God himself, not only as he is 
the God of wisdom, but as he is tbe sovereign Lord of 
heaven and earth, and of every creature which he hath 
made. Now, as it is not meet for man to say unto God, 
"What doust thou!"' — as none,who is not utterly void 
of understanding, will contend with One that is mightiei 
than he, with Ilini whose kingdom ruleth over all : so 
it is true wisdom, it is a mark of sound understanding, to 
acquiesce in whatever He hath chosen; to say in this, as 
in all things, " It is the Lord : let him do what seemeth 
him good." 

S. It may be further considered, that it was of mere 
grace, of free love, of undeserved mercy, that God hath 
vouchsafed to sinful man any way of reconciliation with 
himself; that we were not ciit away from his hand, and 
utterly blotted out of his remembrance. Therefore, 
whatever method he is pleased to appoint, of his tender 
aercy, of his unmerited goodness, whereby his enemies, 
who have so deeply revolted from him, so long and ob- 
stinately rebelled against him, may still Gnd favour iu 
h:- sight, it is doubtless our wisdom to accept it with all 

W To mention but one consideration more. It u 

i ■* 


wisdom to aim at the best end by the best means. Now 
the best end which any creature can pursue is, happiness 
in God. And the best end a fallen creature can pursue 
is, the recovery of the favour and image of God. But 
the best, indeed the only, means under heaven given to 
•i man, whereby he may regain the favour of God, which 
is better than life itself, or the image of God, which is 
the Utic life of the soul, is the submitting to the "right- 
eousness which is of faith," the believing in the only 
begotten Son of God. 

TIL 1. Whosoever therefore thou art, who desirest to 
So forgiven and reconciled to the favour of God, do not 
say in thy heart, "I must first do this; I must first 
coii([uer every sin ; break off every evil word and work, 
and do all good to all men ; or, I musters/ go to church, 
receive the Lord's supper, hear more sermons, and say 
more prayers." Alas, my brother ! thou art clean gone 
out of the way. Thou art still " ignorant of the right- 
eousness of Gcd," and art "seeking to establish thy own 
righteousness," as the ground of thy reconciliation. 
Knowcst thou not, that thou canst do nothing but sin, 
till thou art reconciled to God ? Wherefore, then, dost 
thou say, " I must do this and this first, and then I 
shall believe?" Nay, but first believe ! Believe in the 
Lord Jesus Christ, the propitiation for thy siti> Let 
this good foundation first be laid, and then thou shalt do 
all things well. 

2. Neither say in thy heart, " I cannot be accepted 
yet, because I am not good enough." Who is good enough, 
who ever was, w merit acceptance at God's hands? 
Was ever any child of Adam good enough for this? or 
will any, till the consummation of all things ? And as 
fur thee, thou art not good at all : there dwelleth in thee 
no good thing. And thou never wilt be, till thou believe 
in Jesus. Rather thou wilt find thyself worse and worse. 
But is there any need of being worse, in order to be ac- 
cepted ? Art thou not bad enough already ? Indeed 
thou art; and that God knoweth. Aud thou thyself 
»nst not deny it. Then delay not. All things are anm 



ready. " Arise, and wash away thy sins." The foun 
tain is open. Now is the time to wash thee white in the 
blood of the Lamb. Now he shall "purge" thee as 
' with hyssop," and thou shalt " be clean :" he shall 
" wash" thee, and thou shalt " be whiter than snow." 

3. Do not say, " But I am not contrite enough : I am 
not sensible enough of my sins." I know it. I would 
to God thou wert more sensible of them, more contrite a 
thousand-fold than thou art. But do not stay for this. 
It may be, God will make thee so, not before thou be- 
lievest, but by believing. It may be, thou wilt not weep 
much, till thou lovest much because thou hast had much 
forgiven. In the mean time, look unto Jesus. Behold, 
how he loveth thee ! What could he have done more 
f'o r thee which he hath not done '( 

" O Lamb of God, was ever pain, 
Was ever love like thine ?" 

hook steadily upon him, till he looks on thee, and breaks 
thy hard heart. Then shall thy " head" be " waters," 
and thy " eyes fountains of tears." 

1. Nor yet do thou say, " I must do something more 
bifore I come to Christ." I grant, supposing thy Lord 
should delay his coming, it were meet and right to wait 
for his appearing, in doing, so far as thou hast power, 
whatsoever he hath commanded thee. But there is no 
necessity for making such a supposition. How knowest 
thou that he will delay ? Perhaps he will appear, as 
the dayspring from on high, before the morning light. 
Oh, do not set him a time ! Expect him every hour. 
Now he is nigh ! even at the door ! 

5. And to what end wouldest thou wait for mure sin- 
cerity Ijr/ore thy sins are blotted out ? To make thee 
more worthy of the grace of God ? Alas, thou art still 
''establishing thy own righteousness." He will have 
mercy, not because thou art worthy of it, but because 
bis compassions fail not; not because thou art righteous, 
Sut because Jesus Christ hath atoned for thy sins. 

Again : if there be any thing good in sincerity, whj 



doM thou expect it before thou hast faith? — seeing faith 
itself is the only root of whatever is really good and holy. 

Above all, how long wilt thou forget, that whatsoever 
thou doest, or whatsoever thou hast, before thy sins are 
forgiven thee, it avails nothing with God toward the 
procuring of thy forgiveness I yea, and that it must al] 
be cast behind thy back, trampled under foot, made no 
account of, or thou wilt never find favour in God's sight ; 
because, until then, thou canst not ask it as a mere sin- 
ner, guilty, lost, undone, having nothing to plead, no- 
thing to offer to God, but only the merits of his well- 
belovod Son, "who loved thee, and gave himself for 

6. To conclude. Whosoever thou art, man, who 
hast the sentence of death in thyself, who feelest thyself 
a condemned sinner, and hast the wrath of God abiding 
on thee : unto thee saith the Lord, not, " Do this," — 
perfectly obey all my commands, — " and live ;" but, 
" Helieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be 
saved." " The word of faith is nigh unto thee :" uow, 
at this instant, in the present moment, and in thy pre- 
sent state, sinner as thou art, just as thou art, believe the 
gospel ; and " I will be merciful unto tltg unrighteous 
Q6sh, and thy iniquities will I remember no more." 


Ques. 1. (1f 1.) What two covenants are placed in opposi- 
tion by the apostle? 

Ques. 2. (f 2.) What was the error of the Jews, to whom 
the apostle writes ? 

Ques. 3. (If 3.) Of what were they ignorant? 

Ques. 4. (If 4.) Who commit the same error? 

Ques. 5. (I. 1.) What does the righteousness of the law 

Ques. 6. (I. 2, 3, 4.) What did this righteousness require? 

Ques. 7. (I. 5.) How does it address the sinner? 

Ques. 8. (I. 6.) What does the righteousness of faith 

Ques. 9. (I. 7.) How is this righteousness denned? 

Ques. 10. (I. 8.) Strictly speaking, does this covenant of 
grace require 'man to do any thing? Observe that faith, 
though an act precedent to and the condition of pardon or 
justification, is in no sense a meritorious or procuring cause 
of pardon. 

Ques. 11. (I. 9.) What does the covenant of grace or par 
don say? 

Ques. 12. (I. 10.) What is said of this condition of life? 
Ques. 13. (I. 11.) What is the difference between the right- 
eousness of the law and the righteousness of faith? 
Ques. 14. (I. 12.) What is required for man's recovery? 
Ques. 15. (I. 13.) How is the debtor forgiven? 
Ques.16. (I. 14.) How are the two covenants contrasted? 
Ques. 17. (II. 1.) What is proposed in the second division? 



Ques. 18. (II. 2.) Can the obedience of the law be fulfilled 
by a sinner? 

Ques. 19. (II. 3.) What further is required? 

Ques. 20. (II. 4.) Wiiat is the effect of a single breach? 

Ques. 21. (II. 5.) What is said of the folly of this course? 

Ques. 22. (II. G.) How does he describe the state of nat- 

Ques. 23. (II. 7.) By whom is this method of reconcilia- 
tion chosen? 

Ques. 24. (II. 8.) Ought not God, the Creator, to choose 
the terms? 

Ques. 25. (II. 9.) How is its wisdom proven? 

Ques. 26. (III. 1.) What is the first duty of the seeker? 

Ques. 27. (III. 2.) Are any persons good enough to be ac- 
cepted ? 

Ques. 28. (III. 3.) What is said of being contrite enough? 

Ques. 29. (III. 4.) Ought any one to wait in order to do 
something more? 

Ques. 30. (III. 5.) What is said of waiting for sincerity? 

Ques. 31. (III. 6.) How does the sermon conclude? 


Evehy great revival of genuine religion will become the 
occasion for the development of more or less error in doc- 
trine. On one side we find the tendency to exalt the works 
of the law, and on the other to depreciate them. In Mr. 
Wesley's day the revival of the doctrine of justification by 
faith only was the means of producing numbers of essays, 
sermons, and polemical treatises to prove that works and 
faith must unite in the justification of the soul, and there- 
fore regeneration was a slow, life-long process, which was 
completed only in death. This doctrine differed but little 
from practical Romanism. Against this erroneous teaching 
Mr. Wesley brought all the powers of his exact logic, script- 
ural knowledge, and personal experience. But no sooner 
were the "legalists" silenced than the advocates of the op. 
posite error appeared. The Moravians in London, especial- 
ly in the early part of his career, gave Mr. Wesley a great 
deal of trouble and vexation. They taught that no man 
ought to seek for the divine blessings, but every one should 
Bit still, and wait for the power of God. The " still " breth- 
ren were as thorns in the side of the great revivalist. They 
perverted the members of his societies, and paved the way 
for Antinomian errors of the most heinous character. The 
study of this conflict will be profitable to the Christian min- 
ister. There is always a tendency to rest in religious life. 
To " cease from our own works as a means of perfecting the 
salvation through Christ in the regeneration of the soul is 
right;" but after we enter the kingdom "faith works by 



love," and purifies the heart. Therefore, we must "go on 
to perfection." 

This sermon presents salvation as a subjective experience 
of religious life, and thus preserves us from Antinomianism, 
as the preceding guards us against " legalism." 

I. The nature of true religion as " the kingdom of God." 
Defined from Rom. xiv. 17: "The kingdom of (iod is not 
meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost." 

1. Not meat and drink. The sacrifices and ceremonies 
of the Jewish law, outward forms of worship, nor any out- 
ward acts, however good, nor right opinions, but the hidden 
man of — 

2. The heart, righteousness, love to God, love to our neigh- 
bor, happiness, peace from the witnessing Spirit, joy in the 
Hoiy Ghost — called the kingdom, because thus does God 
reign in the heart. 

II. The Way. 

1. Repentance; conviction, or self-knowledge; conviction 
of inward corruption, of evil passions, of sinful actions, of 
exposure to eternal death, of inability to cancel the past or 
to amend the future. To conviction must be added sorrow 
for sin and desire to return to God. 

2. To the penitent there is one step more: "Believe the gos- 
pel." The gospel is: "Jesus Christ came into the world to 
save sinners." Believe this, not with bare assent, but with 
sure trust, divine conviction, confidence in a pardoning God 
The fruit of this faith will be peace, joy, and love. 



The kingdom of Ood i* at hand: repent ye, and believe th* 
goepel." — Mark i. 16. 

These words naturally lead us to consider, first, the 
aature of true religion, here termed by our Lord, " the 
kingdom of God," which, saith he, " is at hand ;" and, 
secondly, the way thereto, which he points out in those 
words, " Repent ye, and believe the gospel." 

1. I. We are, first, to consider the nature of true 
religion, here termed by our Lord, " the kingdom of 
God." The same expression the great apostle uses in 
his Epistle to the Romans, where he likewise explains 
his Lord's words, saying, " The kingdom of God is not 
meat and drink ; but righteousness and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost." (Rom. xiv. 17.) 

2. "The kingdom of God," or true religion, " is not 
meat and drink." It is wel! known, that not only the 
unconverted Jews, but great numbers of those who had 
received the faith of Christ, were, notwithstanding, 
" zealous of the law," (Acts xxi. 20,) even the cere- 
monial law of Moses. Whatsoever, therefore, they found 
written therein, either concerning meat and drink offer- 
ings, or the distinction between clean and unclean meats, 
they not only observed themselves, but vehemently 
pressed the same, even on those "among the Gentiles" 
(or heathens) " who were turned to God ;" yea, to such 
a degree, that some of them taught, wheresoever they 
came among them, " Except ye be circumcised and keep 
the law," (the whole ritual law,) " ye cannot be saved." 
'Acts xv. 1, 24.) 

3 In opposition to these, the apostle declares, both 


here and in many other places, that true religion doea 
not consist in meat and drink, or in any ritual observances; 
nor, indeed, in any outward thing whatever ; in any thing 
exterior to the heart ; the whole substance thereof lying 
in " righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

4. Not in any outward tiling ; such as forms or cere- 
monies, even of the most excellent kind. Supjosing 
these to be ever so decent and significant, ever so ex- 
pressive of inward things : supposing them ever so help- 
ful, not only to the vulgar, whose thought reaches little 
farther than their sight ; but even to men of understand- 
ing, men of stronger capacities, as doubtless they may 
sometimes be : yea, supposing them, as in the case of 
the Jews, to be appointed by God himself; yet even 
during the period of time wherein that appointment 
remains in force, true religion does not principally con- 
sist therein ; nay, strictly speaking, not at all. How 
much more must this hold concerning such rites and 
forms as are only of human appointment ! The religion 
of Christ rises infinitely higher, and lies immensely 
deeper, than all these. These are good in their place ; 
just so far as they are in fact subservient to true religion. 
And it were superstition to object against them, while 
they are applied only as occasional helps to human weak- 
ness. But let no man carry them farther. Let no man 
dream that they have any intrinsic worth ; or that reli- 
gion cannot subsist without them. This were to make 
them an abomination to the Lord. 

5. The nature of religion is so far from consisting in 
these, in forms of worship, or rites and ceremonies, that 
it does not properly consist in any outward actions, of 
what kind soever. It is true, a man cannot have any 
religion who is guilty of vicious, immoral actions ; or 
who does to others what he would not they should do 
unto him, if he were in the same circumstances. Aud 
it is also true, that he can have no real religion who 
" knows to do good, and doeth it not." Yet may a 
man both abstain from outward evil, and do good, and 
•till have no religion. Yea, two persons may do tbr 



same outward work ; suppose feeding the huugry, 01 
clothing the naked ; and, in the mean time, one of these 
may be truly religious, and the other have no religioc 
at all : for the one may act from the love of God, and 
the other from the love of praise. So manifest it is, that 
although true religion naturally leads to every good word 
and work, yet the real nature thereof lies deeper still, 
even in " the hidden man of the heart." 

6. I say of the heart. For neither does religion con 
gist in orthodoxy, or right opinions ; which, although 
they are not properly outward things, are not in the 
heait, but the understanding. A man may be orthodox 
in every point ; he may not only espouse right opinions, 
but zealously defend them against all oppo&ers; he may 
think justly concerning the incarnation of our Lord, 
concerning the ever-blessed Trinity, and every other 
doctrine contained in the oracles of God ; he may assent 
to all the three Creeds, — that called the Apostles', the 
Niccne, and the Athanasian ; and yet it is possible he 
may have no religion at all, no more than a Jew, Turk, 
or pagan. He may be almost as orthodox — as the devil, 
(the gh indeed not altogether; for every man errs in 
something; whereas, we cannot well conceive him to 
hold any erroneous opinion,) and may, all the while, be 
as great a stranger as he to the religion of the heart. 

7. This alone is religion, truly so called ; this alone 
is in the sight of God of great price. The apostle sums 
■t all up in three particulars, " righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost." And, first, righteousness. 
We cannot be at a loss concerning this, if we remem- 
ber the words of our Lord, describing the two grand 
branches thereof, on which "hang all the law and the 
prophets :" " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, 
*nd with all thy strength : this is the first and great 
jommandment ;" (Mark xii. 30;) the first and great 
branch of Chrietian righteousness. Thou shalt delight 
thyself in the Lord thy God ; thou shalt seek and find 
ill happiness in him. He shall be " thy shield and thv 

7 i-i 


exceeding great reward," in time and in eternity All 
thy bones shall say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? 
And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." 
Thou shalt hear and fulfil his word, who saith, " My 
son, give me thy heart." And, having given him thy 
heart, thy iumost soul, to reign there without a rival, 
thou mayest well cry out, in the fulness of thy heart, 
" I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord if 
my strong rock, and my defence; my Saviour, my God, 
and my might, in whom I will trust; my buckler, the 
)rn also of my salvation, and my refuge." 

8. And the second commandment is like unto this; 
the second great branch of Christian righteousness id 
closely and inseparably connected therewith ; even, " Thoii 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Thou shah fore,- 
thou shalt embrace with the most tender good-will, the 
most earnest and cordial affection, the most inflamed 
desires of preventing or removing all evil, and of procur- 
ing for him every possible good. Thy neighbour, — that 
is, not only thy friend, thy kinsman, or thy acquaintance; 
not only the virtuous, the friendly, him that loves thee, 
that prevents or returns thy kindness; but every child 
of man, every human creature, every soul which God 
hath made ; not excepting him whom thou never hast 
seen in the flesh, whom thou knowest not either by face 
or name; not excepting him whom thou knowest to be 
evil and unthankful, him that still despitefully uses and 
persecutes thee : him thou shalt love as thyself; with 
the same invariable thirst after his happiness in every 
kind ; the same unwearied care to screen him from 
whatever might grieve or hurt either his soul or body. 

9. Now is not this love "the fullilliug of the law?" 
the sum of all Christian righteousness? — of all inward 
righteousness ; for it necessarily implies " bowels of 
mercies, humbleness of mind," (seeing " love is not 

Euffed up,") "gentleness, meekness, long-suffering:" (for 
>ve "is not provoked ;" but "believeth, hopeth, endur- 
Bth all things:") and of all outward righteousness; for 
" love worketh no evil to his neighbour," either by word 


or deed. It cannot willingly hurt or grie\ « any one 
And it is zealous of good works. Every lover of man- 
kind, as he hath opportunity, " doeth good unto all 
men," being (without partiality, and without hypocrisy ) 
" full of mercy and good fruits." 

10. But true religion, or a heart right toward God 
and man, implies happiness as well as holiness. For it 
is not only " righteousness," but also " peace and joy 
in the Holy Ghost." What peace? "The peace of 
God," which God only can give, and the world cannot 
take away ; the peace which " passeth all understand- 
ing," all barely rational conception ; being a superna- 
tural sensation, a divine taste of " the powers of the world 
to come ;" such as the natural man knoweth not, how 
wise soever in the things of this world; nor, indeed, ?an 
he know it, in his present state, " because it is spiritu 
ally discerned." It is a peace that banishes all doubt, 
all painful uncertainty ; the Spirit of God bearing witness 
with the spirit of a Christian, that he is "a child of God." 
And it banishes fear, all such fear as hath torment ; the 
fear of the wrath of God ; the fear of hell ; the fear of 
the devil ; and, in particular, the fear of death : he that 
hath the peace of God, desiring, if it were the will of 
God, " to depart, and to be with Christ." 

11. With this peace of God, wherever it is fixed in 
the soul, there is also " joy in the Holy Ghost ;" jo) 
wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost, by the ever- 
blessed Spirit of God. He it is that worketh in us that 
calm, humble rejoicing in God, through Christ Jesus. 
" by whom we have now ^received the atonement," 
nataxxaytji,, the reconciliation with God ; and that enables 
us boldly to confirm the truth of the royal Psalmist's 
declaration, " Blessed is the man" (or rather, happy) 
" whose unrighteousness is forgiven, and whose sin is 
covered " He it is that inspires the Christian soul with 
that even, solid joy, which arises from the testimony of 
the Spirit that he is a child of God ; and that gives him 
to " rejoice with joy unspeakable, in hope of the glory 
rf Gxl ;" hope both of the glorious image of God, 

10 I VOL. I. 


which is m part, and shall be fully, "revealed in him;" 
and of that crown of glory which fadeth not away, re- 
served in heaven for him. 

12. This holiness and happiness, joined in one, are 
sometimes styled, in the inspired writings, "the kingdom 
of God," (as by our Lord in the text,) and sometimes, 
" the kingdom of heaven." It is termed, " the kingdom 
of God," because it is the immediate fruit of God's 
reigning in the soul. So soon as ever he takes unto 
himself his mighty power, and sets up his throne in our 
hearts, they are instantly filled with this " righteousness, 
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." It is called 
" the kingdom of heaven," because it is (in a degree) 
heaven opened in the soul. For whosoever they are 
that experience this, they can aver before angels and 

" Everlasting life is won, 
Glory is on earth begun ;" 

according to the constant tenor of Scripture, which 
everywhere bears record, God " hath given unto us eternal 
life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son" 
(reigning in his heart) " hath life," even life everlasting. 
(1 John v. 11, 12.) For " this is life eternal, to know 
thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou 
hast ssnt." (John xvii. 3.) And they to whom this 
is given may confidently address God, though they worn 
in the midst of a fiery furnace, — 

" Thee, Lord, safo shielded by thy power, 
Thee, Sen of God, Jehovah, we adore ; 
In form of man descending to appear. 

To thee be ceaseless hallelujahs given, 
Praise, as in heaven thy throne, we offer here ; 

For whero thy presenco is display'd, is heaven.' 

1 H And this " kingdom of God," or of heaven, •' i> 
•l hand." As these words were originally spoken, they 
implied that "the time" was then fulfilled, God beiug 
" made manifest in the flesh," when he would set up his 
kingdom among men, and reign in the hearts of hie 
people. And is not the time now fulfilled f For, " Lo I" 



(gaith he,) " I am with you always," you who prcauh ro 
mission of sins in my name, " even unto the end of the 
world." (Matt, xxviii. 20.) Wheresoever, therefore, the 
gospel of Christ is preached, this his " kingdem is nigh 
at hand." It is not far from every one of you. Ye 
may this hour enter thereinto, if so be ye hearken t< 
his voice, " Repent ye, and believe the gospel." 

II. 1. This is the way : walk yc in it. And, first 
" repent ;" that is, know yourselves. This is the first 
repentance, previous to faith ; even conviction, or self- 
knowledge. Awake then, thou that sleepest. Know 
thyself to be a sinner, and what manner of sinner thou 
art. Know that corruption of thy inmost nature, 
whereby thou art very far gone from original righteous- 
ness; whereby "the flesh lusteth" always "contrary to 
the Spirit," through that "carnal mind" which "is en- 
mity against God," which " is not subject to the law of 
God, neither indeed can be." Know that thou art cor- 
rupted in every power, in every faculty of thy soul ; 
that thou art totally corrupted in every one of these, all 
the foundations being out of course. The eyes of thine 
understanding are darkened, so that they cannot discern 
God, or the things of God. The clouds of ignorance 
and error rest upon thee, and cover thee with the 
shadow of death. Thou knowest nothing yet as thou 
oughtest to know, neither God, nor the world, nor thy- 
Belf.x Thy will is no longer the will of God, but is 
utterly perverse and distorted, averse from all good, from 
all which God loves, and prone to all evil, to every 
abomination which God hateth.- Thy affections are 
alienated from God, and scattered abroad over all the 
earth. All thy passions, both thy desires and aversions, 
thy joys and sorrows, thy hopes and fears, are out of 
frame, are cither undue in their degree, or placed on 
undue objects. So that there is no soundness in thy soul ; 
bat " from the crown of the head, to the sole of the foot," 
(to use the strong expression of the Prophet,) there are 
>nly " wounds, and bruises, and putrefying seres." 

2. Such is the inbred corruption of thy heart, of thj 
it » 


T,?ry iii most, nature. And what manner of brancbet 
canst thou expect to grow from such an evil root? 
Hence springs unbelief; ever departing from the living 
God ; saying, " Who is the Lord, that I should serve 
him? Tush! Thou God carest not for it." Hence 
^dependence ; affecting to be like the Most High. 
3ence pride, in all its forms; teaching thee to say, 
" I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need 
of nothing." From this evil fountain flow forth the 
bitter streams of vanity, thirst of praise, ambition, 
covetousness, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, 
and the pride of life. From this arise anger, hatred, 
malice, revenge, envy, jealousy, evil surmisings : from 
this, all the foolish and hurtful lusts that now " pierce 
thee through with many sorrows," and, if not timely 
prevented, will at length drown thy soul in everlasting 

3. And what fruits can grow on such branches as 
these 1 Only such as are bitter and evil continually. 
Of pride cometh contention, vain boasting, seeking and 
receiving praise of men, and so robbing God of that 
glory which he cannot give unto another. Of the lust 
of the flesh come gluttony or drunkenness, luxury or 
sensuality, fornication, unclcanness; variously defilim; 
that, body which was designed for a temple of the Holy 
Ghost : of unbelief, every evil word and work. But the 
time would fail, shouldest thou reckon up all ; all the 
idle words thou hast spoken, provoking the Most High, 
grieving the Holy One of Israel ; all the evil works thou 
hast done, either wholly evil in themselves, or, at least, 
not done to the glory of God. For thy actual sius are 
more than thou art able to express, more than the hairs 
of thy head. Who can number the sands of the sea, or 
the drops of rain, or thy iniquities ? 

4. Aud knowest thou not that " the wages of sin is 
death'/" — death, not only temporal, but eternal. "The 
soul that siuneth, it shall die ;" for the mouth of th* 
Lord hath spoken it It shall die the second dcatk 
This is the scutence, to be "punished" with neTai 



ending death, "with everlasting destruction from the 
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his powci." 
Knowest thou not that every sinner cvo^o; tati ty yttw^ 
too rtvfoi, — not properly " is in danger of hell-fire ;" that 
expression is far too weak; but rather, "is under the 
sentence of hell-fire ;" doomed already, just dragging to 
execution. Thou art guilty of everlasting death. It is 
the just reward of thy inward and outward wickedness. 
It is just that the sentence should now take place. Dost 
thou see, dost thou feel this ? Art thou thoroughly con 
vinced, that thou deservest God's wrath, and everlasting 
damnation ? Would God do thee no wrong, if he now 
commanded the earth to open and swallow thee up ? 
if thou wert now to go down quick into the pit, into the 
fire that shall never be quenched ? If God hath given 
thee truly to repent, thou hast a deep sense that these 
things arc so ; and that it is of his mere mercy tuou 
art not consumed, swept away from the face of the 

5. And what wilt thou do to appease the wrath of 
God, to atone for all thy sins, and to escape the punish- 
ment thou hast so justly deserved ? Alas, thou canst do 
nothing; nothing that will in anywise make amends to 
Ood for one evil work, or word, or thought. If thou 
couldest now do all things well, if from this very hour 
till thy soul should return to God thou couldest perform 
perfect, uninterrupted obedience, even this would not 
atone for what is past. The not increasing thy debt 
would not discharge it. It would still remain as great 
as ever. Yea, the present and future obedience of all 
the men upon earth, and all the angels in heaven, would 
never make satisfaction to the justice of God for one 
single sin. How vain, then, was the thought of atoning 
for thy own sins, by any thing thou couldest do ! It 
costeth far more to redeem one soul than all mankind 
is able to pay. So that were there no other help for a 
guilty sinner, without doubt he must have perished 

6 But suppose perfect obedience, for the time to come. 



jtuld atone for the sins that are past, this would profit 
thee nothing; for thou art not able to perform it; no, 
not in any one point. Begin now : make the tnai. 
Shake off that outward sin that so easily besetteth thee. 
Thou canst not. How then wilt thou change thy life 
from all evil to all good ? Indeed, it is impossible to 
be done, unless first thy heart be changed. For, so long 
as the tree remains evil, it cannot bring forth good fruit. 
But art thou able to change thy own heart, from all sin 
to all holiness ? to quicken a soul that is dead in sin,— 
dead to God, and alive only to the world? No more 
than thou art able to quicken a dead body, to raise to 
life him that lieth in the grave. Yea, thou art not able 
to quicken thy soul in any degree, no more than to give 
any degree of life to the dead body. Thou canst do 
nothing, more or less, in this matter ; thou art utterly 
without strength. To be deeply sensible of this, how 
helpless thou art, as well as how guilty and how sinful, — 
this is that " repentance not to be repented of," which is 
the forerunner of the kingdom of God. 

7. If to this lively conviction of thy inward and out- 
ward sins, of thy utter guiltiness and helplessness, there 
be added suitable affections, — sorrow of heart, for having 
despised thy own mercies, — remorse, and self-condemna- 
tion, having thy mouth stopped, — shame to lift up thine 
ey&3 to heaven, — fear of the wrath of God abiding on 
thee, of his curse hanging over thy head, and of the fiery 
indignation ready to devour those who forget God, and 
obey not our Lord Jesus Christ, — earnest desire to escape 
from that indignation, to cease from evil, and learn to do 
well ; — then I say unto thee, in the name of the Lord, 
'•' Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." One 
step more, and thou shalt enter in. Thou "dost repent." 
Now, " believe the gospel." 

8. The gospel, (that is, good tidings, good news for 
guilty, helpless sinners,) in the largest sense of the 
word, means, the whole revelation made to men by Jesui 
Christ ; and sometimes the whole account of what coi 
Ijord did and suffered while he tabernacled among moo 



The substance of all is, "Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners ;" or, " God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end wc might 
not perish, but have everlasting life;" or, "He was 
bruised for our transgressions, he was wounded for our 
iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; 
and with his stripes we are healed." 

9. Believe this, and the kingdom of God is thin* 
By faith thou attainest the promise. " He pardoneth 
and absolveth all that truly repent and unfeigncdly 
believe his holy gospel." As soon as ever God hath 
spoken to thy heart, " Be of good cheer, thy sins are 
forgiven thee," his kingdom comes : thou hast " right- 
eousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

10. Only beware thou do not deceive thy own soul, 
with regard to the nature of this faith. It is not, as 
some have fondly conceived, a bare assent to the truth 
of the Bible, of the articles of our Creed, or of all that 
is contained in the Old and New Testament. The 
devils believe this, as well as I or thou ! And yet they 
are devils still. But it is, over and above this, a suit 
trust in the mercy of God, through Christ Jesus. It is 
a confidence in a pardoning God. It is a divine evi 
donee or conviction that " God was in Christ, recon- 
ciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their" 
former " trespasses ;" and in particular, that the Son of 
God hath loved me, and given himself for me ; and that 
I, even I, am now reconciled to God by the blood of the 

11. Dost thou thus believe ? Then the peace of God 
is in thy heart, and sorrow and .sighing flee away. Thou 
art no longer in doubt of the love of God ; it is clear as 
the noonday sun. Thou criest out, " My song shall bo 
always of the loving-kindness of the Lord : with my 
mouth will I ever be telling of thy truth, from one gene- 
ration to another." Thou art no longer afraid of heh, 
or death, or him that had once the power of death, the 
ievil; no, nor painfully afraid of God himself! only 
»hou hast a tender, filial fear of offending him. Don* 


thou believe ? Then thy "soul doth magnify the Lord," 
and thy " spirit rejoicoth in God thy Saviour." Thou 
rejoicest in that thou hast "redemption through his 
blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Thou rejoicest in 
that " Spirit of adoption," which crieth in thy heart, 
" Abba, Father !" Thou rejoicest in a " hope full of 
immortality ;" in reaching forth unto the " mark for 
the prize of thy high calling ;" in an earnest expectation 
of all the good things which God hath prepared for them 
that love him. 

12. Dost thou now believe? Then the "love of 
God is" now " shed abroad in thy heart." Thou lovest 
him, because ho first loved us. And because thou lovest 
God, thou lovest thy brother also. And being filled 
with " love, peace, joy," thou art also filled with " long- 
suffering, gentleness, fidelity, goodness, meekness, tem- 
perance," and all the other fruits of the same Spirit ; in 
a word, with whatever dispositions are holy, are heavenly, 
or divine. For while thou " beholdest with open," 
uncovered, " face" (the veil now being taken away) " the 
glory of the Lord," his glorious love, and the glorious 
image wherein thou wast created, thou art "changed 
into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit 
of the Lord." 

13. This repentance, this faith, this peace, joy, love 
this change from glory to glory, is what the wisdom of 
the world has voted to be madness, mere enthusiasm, 
utter distraction. But thou, man of God, regard 
thetn not ; be thou moved by none of these things. Thou 
knowest in whom thou hast believed. See that no man 
take thy crown. Whereunto thou hast already attained, 
hold fast, and follow, till thou attain all the great and 
precious promises. And thou who hast not yet known 
him, let not vain men make thee ashamed of the gospel 
of Christ. Be thou in nothing terrified by those who 
speak evil of the things which they know not. God 
will soon turn thy heaviness into joy. Oh, let not thy 
hands hang down ! Yet a little longer, and he will take 
*way thy fears, and give thee the spirit of a sound 



mind. He is nigh " that justifieth : who is he that 
oondemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that 
rose again, who is even now at the right hand of God, 
xakiug intercession" for thee. 

Now cast thyself on the Lamb of God, with all thy 
tins, how many soever they be ; and " an entrance shall 
dow " be ministered unto thee into the kingdom of oar 
Lord and Saviou- Jesus Christ 1" 


Father of me, and all mankind, 

And all the hosts above, 

Let every understanding mind 

Unite to praise thy love : 

To know thy nature, and thy name, 

One God in Persons Three ; 
And glorify the great I AM 

Through all eternity. 

Thj kingdom come, with power and gra<* 

To every heart of man : 
Thy peace, and joy, and righteousness 

In all our bosoms reign. 

The righteousness that never ends, 

Hut makes an end of sin, 
The joy that human thought transcend*, 

Into our souls bring in : 

The kingdom of establish'd peace, 

Which can no more remove ; 
The perfect power of Godliness, 

Th' omnipotence of Love. 



Jehovah, God the Father, bless, 

And thy own work defend ! 
With mercy's outstretch'd arms embnoe, 

And keep us to the end ! 

Preserve the creatures of thy love ; 

By providential care 
Conducted to the realms above, 

To sing thy goodness there 

Jehovah, God the Son, reveal 

The brightness of thy face : 
And all thy pardon'd people fill 

With plenitude of grace ! 

Shine forth with all the Deity, 
Which dwells in thee alone ; 

And lift us up, thy face to see 
On thy eternal throne. 

Jehovah, God the Spirit, shine, 

Father and Son to show ! 
With bliss ineffable, divine, 

Our ravished hearts o'erflow. 

Sure earnest of that happiness, 
Which human hope transcend^ 

Be thou our everlasting peace, 
When grace in glory ends. 


Qnes. 1. (1. 1.) What are we first to consider? 

Ques. 2. (I. 2.) State what true religion is not. What was 
the error of the Jews? 

Ques. 3. (1. 3.) How does the apostle oppose them? 

Ques. 4. (I. 4.) What is said of rites and forms? 

Ques. 5. (I. 5.) What is the distinction between the same 
action performed by different persons? 

Ques. 6. (I. 6.) What is said of orthodoxy, or right opin- 

Ques. 7. (I. 7.) How does the apostle define true religion? 

Ques. 8. (I. 8.) What is the second commandment. 

Ques. 9. (I. 9.) How does love fulfill the law? 

Ques. 10. (I. 10.) What does true religion imply? 

Ques. 11. (I. 11.) What follows the peace of God? 

Ques. 12. (1. 12.) Why is it called "the kingdom of God?" 

Ques. 13. (I. 13.) What did these words imply originally? 

Ques. 14. (II. 1.) What is first to be done? 

Ques. 15. (II. 2.) What is said of the corruption of the 

Ques. 16. (II. 3.) What are its fruits? 

Ques. 17. (II. 4.) What is said of the wages of sin ? 

Ques. 18. (IT. 5.) What can the sinner do to appease the 
wrath of God? 

Ques. 19. (II. 6.) What is said of perfect obedience here- 

Ques. 20. (II. 7.) What should be added to the conviction 
of inward and outward sin ? 

Ques. 21. (II. 8.) What is the meaning of the gospel? 



Ques. 22. (II. 9.) What follows belief of this? 
Ques. 23. (II. 10.) How is danger of delusion prevented? 
Ques. 24. (II. 11.) What follows present belief of this gos- 

Ques. 25. (II. 12.) Why do we love God? 

Ques. 26. (II. 13.) H< w does this sermon conclude? 


Having set forth in the preceding discourses the steps b> 
which a sinner enters the kingdom of God, Mr. Wesley now 
considers the fruits of this change of heart and life. The 
knowledge of sins forgiven is more than a mere conscious- 
ness of right intention and sincerity of purpose. We have, 
therefore, in this sermon the evidence of the new life as it 
is furnished to our consciousness by the Holy Spirit. The 
term conversion is applied to this change, because it reverses 
the whole tenor of the man's life. He was in a state of 
darkness by nature, without God and without hope; now 
he is a child of God and an heir of heaven. Formerly he 
was under bondage to sin and Satan ; now he is the Lord's 
freeman, and is able by grace to overcome sin. The doc- 
trine of a conscious pardon of sin, a personal knowledge of 
the divine forgiveness, was the great truth which distin- 
guished Methodism from all the systems of theology taught 
in the last century. 

Justification by faith only was revived by Luther and the 
reformers of the sixteenth century; but, as it happened in 
the second and third centuries, after the death of the apos- 
tles, a mere change of belief from'heathenism to Christian- 
ity, or from Romanism to Protestantism, was regarded as 
genuine conversion. To give the assent of the mind to cer- 
tain propositions or doctrines is one thing; to believe on the 
Son of God to the saving of the soul is another. Mere as- 
sent to truth of any kind is not enough. It is the "dead 
faith" of which the Apostle James speaks. Faith that does 
4 157 


not produce good works is of no avail ; so, also, faith that ifl 

not attended by joy and peace in the Holy Ghost is without 



I. Those that are in Christ are distinguished — 

I. By faith. 2. They do not sin. 3. They crucify the 
flesh. 4. They walk after the Spirit. 5. They exhibit its 

II. They are free from condemnation. 

1. For all past sin, free before God and their consciences. 
2. For all present sins; for they do not commit them. 3. 
They are not condemned for inward sin; for though it re 
mains, they do not yield themselves to it. 4. Nor for the 
sin which cleaves to all they do; because they have constant 
union with Christ, the Intercessor. 5. Nor, for the same 
reason, are they condemned for infirmities. 6. Nor for any 
thing which it is not in their power to help. 7. But sins of 
surprise bring condemnation when there is neglect, but the 
watchful soul immediately returns to Christ. 

III. Practical lessons. 

1. Of encouragement to the weak and fearful. 2. Of 
warning to the Christian who carelessly sins. 3. Of patient 
courage to the one who struggles against inward sin. 4. Of 
support to the one beset with infirmities and defects. 5. Of 
counsel to the one overtaken by sudden temptation. 



1 Theft is therefort now no condemnation to them which art i* 
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." — 
Romans viii. 1. 

1. By " them which arc in Christ Jesus," St. Paul 
evidently means, those who truly believe in him ; those 
who, " being justified by faith, have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." They who thus be- 
lieve do no longer " walk after the flesh," no longer 
follow the motions of corrupt nature, but " after the 
Spirit ;" both their thoughts, words, and works are undei 
the direction of the blessed Spirit of God. 

2. "There is therefore now no condemnation to" these 
There is no condemnation to them from God ; for ht 
hath justified them "freely by his grace through the 
redemption that is in Jesus." He hath forgiven all 
their iniquities, and blotted out all their sins. And 
there is no condemnation to them from within ; for they 
" have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spi- 
rit which is of God ; that they might know the things 
which are freely given to them of God ;" (1 Cor. ii. 12 ;) 
which Spirit " beareth witness, with their spirits, that 
they are the children of God." And to this is added 
the testimony of their conscience, " that in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God, they have had their conversation iu the 
world." (2 Cor. i. 12.) 

3 But because this scripture has been so frequently 

misunderstood, and that in so dangerous a manner ; be 

cause such multitudes of " unlearned and unstable men" 

(oi apo^uf cat »*TJ7ptxr<H, men untaught of God, and oonae 

I.- k *■ 


quently uncstablished in the truth which is after godli- 
ness) have wrested it to their own destruction ; I propose 
to show, as clearly as I can, first, who those are " which 
are in Christ Jesus," and " walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit;" and, secondly, how " there is no con- 
demnation to" these. I shall conclude rith some prac- 
tical inferences. 

1. 1. First, I am to show, who those are that "are 
in Christ Jesus." And are they not those who believe 
in his name ? those who are " found in him, not having 
their own righteousness, but the righteousness which is 
of God by faith V These, " who have redemption 
through his blood," are properly said to be in him ; l'oi 
they dwell in Christ, and Christ in them. They are 
joined unto the Lord in one Spirit. They are ingrafted 
into him, as branches into the vine. They are united, 
as members to their head, iu a manner which word* 
cannot express, nor could it before enter into their hearts 
to conceive. 

2. Now "whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not;" 
" walketh not after the flesh." The flesh, in the usual 
language of St. Paul, signifies corrupt nature. In tlii? 
sense he uses the word, writing to the Galatians, " The 
works of the flesh are manifest ;" (Gal. v. 19 ;) and a 
little before, " Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 
the lust" (or desire) " of the flesh." (Ver. 16.) To 
prove which, namely, that those who " walk by the 
Spirit" do not " fulfil the lusts of the flesh," he imme- 
diately adds, " For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit ; 
ind the Spirit lusteth against the flesh ; (fc r these are 
contrary to each other ;) that ye may not do the thiugs 
which ye would." So the words are literally translated; 
(tea /WJ o av ^JwjTf , tavta nonjtt ;) not, " So that ye canDOt 
do the things that ye would;" as if the flesh overcame 
the Spirit : a translation which hath not only nothing 
to do with the original text of the apostle, but likewise 
makes his whole argument nothing worth ; yea, asserts 
junt the reverse of what he is proving. 

3. They who arc of Christ, who abide in him, " b»vt 



jrucificd the flesh with its affections and lusts." They 
ibstain from all those works of the flesh; from "adul- 
tery and fornication ;" from " uncleanness and lascivi- 
ousness;" from "idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance:" 
from " emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, en- 
ryings, murders, drunkenness, revellings;" from every 
design, and word, and work, to which the corruption of 
nature leads. Although they feel the root of bitterness 
in themselves, yet are they endued with power from on 
high to trample it continually under foot, so that it 
oannot " spring up to trouble them ;" insomuch that 
every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives them 
fresh occasion of praise, of crying out, " Thanks be unto 
Sod, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ 
our Lord." 

4. They " now walk after the Spirit," both in their 
hearts and lives. They are taught of him to love God 
and their neighbour, with a love which is as " a well of 
water, springing up into everlasting life." And by him 
they are led into every holy desire, into every divine and 
heavenly temper, till every thought which arises in their 
heart is holiness unto the Lord. 

5. They who " walk after the Spirit" are also led by 
him into all holiness of conversation. Their "speech is 
always in grace, seasoned with salt;" with the love and 
fear of God. " No corrupt communication comes out 
of their mouth ; but only that which is good ;" that 
which is " to the use of edifying ;" which is " meet to 
minister grace to the hearers." And herein likewise do 
they exercise themselves day and night, to do only the 
things which please God; in all their outward behaviour 
to follow Him " who left us an example that we might 
tread in his steps ;" in all their intercourse with their 
neighbour, to walk in justice, mercy, and truth ; and 
" whatsoever they do," in every circumstance of life, to 
H do all to the glory of God." 

6. These are they who indeed " walk after the Spirit." 
Being filled with faith and with the Holy Ghost, they 
PooMss in their hearts, and show forth in their lives, ii> 

11 VOL. L J ' 


the whole course of their words and actions, ihe genuine 
finite of the Spirit of God, namely, " love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, 
temperance," and whatsoever else is lovely or praise- 
worthy. " They adorn in all things the gospel of God 
our Saviour ;" and give full proof to all mankind, that 
they are indued actuated by the same Spirit " whicb 
raised up Jesus from the dead." 

II. 1. I proposed to show, in the second place, how 

' there is no condemnation to them which are" thus " in 
Christ Jesus," and thu3 " walk not after the flesh, but 
after the Spirit." 

And, first, to believers in Christ, walking thus, " there 
is no condemnation" on account of their past sins. God 
eondemneth them not for any of these : they are as 
though they had never been ; they are cast " as a stone 
into the depth of the sea," and he remembercth them 
no more. God, having " set forth his Son to be a pro- 
pitiation" for them " through faith in his blood,' ' hath 

leclared unto them " his righteousness for the remission 
of the sins that are past." He layeth therefore none of 
these to their charge ; their memorial is perished with 

2. And there is no condemnation in their own breast; 
no sense of guilt, or dread of the wrath of God. They 
" have the witness in themselves :" they are conscious 
of their interest in the blood of sprinkling. " They have 
Dot received again the spirit of bondage unto fear," unto 
doubt and racking uncertainty; but they have "received 
the Spirit of adoption," crying in their heart, u Abba, 
Father." Thus being "justified by faith," they have 
thtf peace of God ruling in their hearts; flowing from a 
continual sense of his pardoning mercy, and " tho answer 
of a good conscience toward God." 

3. If it be said, But sometimes a believer in Christ 
may lose his sight of the mercy of God ; sometimes sucb 
darkness may fall upon him that he no longer sees Hin, 
that is invisible, no longer feels that witness in himself 
of bis part in the atoning blood ; and then he is inwardly 


condemned, he hath again "the sentence of death in 
himself - " I answer, supposing it so to be, supposing hira 
aot to see the mercy of God, then he is not a believer : 
for faith implies light ; the light of God shining upon the 
soul So far, therefore, as any one loses this light, he, 
for the time, loses his faith. And, no doubt, a true be- 
liever in Christ may lose the light of faith ; and so far 
as this is lost, he may, for a time, fall again into condem- 
nation. But this is not the case of them who now " are 
in Christ Jesus," who now believe in his name. For so 
long as they believe, and walk after the Spirit, neither 
God condemns them, nor their own heart. 

4. They are not condemned, secondly, for any present 
sins, for now transgressing the commandments of God. 
For they do not transgress them : they do not " walk 
after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This is the conti- 
nual proof of their " love of God, that they keep his 
commandments;" even as St. John bears witness, "Who- 
soever is born of God doth not commit sin. For his 
seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is 
born of God :" he cannot, so long as that seed of God, 
that loving holy faith, remaineth in him. So long as " he 
keepeth himself" herein, •• that wicked one toucheth him 
not." Now it is evident, he is not condemned for thp 
sins which he doth not commit at all. They, therefore, 
who are thus " led by the Spirit are not under the law :" 
(Gal. v. 18 :) not under the curse or condemnation of 
it ; for it condemns none but those who break it. Thus, 
that law of God, "Thou shalt not steal," condemns 
none hut those who do steal. Thus, " llemember the 
8abbath-day to keep it holy," condemns those only who 
do not keep it holy. But against the fruits of the Spirit 
" there is no law ;" (ver. 23 ;) as the apostle more 
largely declares in those memorable words of his former 
Epistle to Timothy : " We know that the law is good, 
if a man use it lawfully ; knowing this," (if, while he 
oses the law of God, in order either to convince ot 
direct, he know and remember this,) on. 4i*c«9 i>opo{ o« 
■ttrat ; (not, that the law is not made for a righteoTif 


man ; but) " that the law does not lie against a righieour 
man :" it has no force against him, no power to condemn 
him ; " but against the lawless and disobedient, against 
the ungodly and sinners, against the unholy and profane ; 
according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God." 
(1 Tim. i 8, 9, 11.) 

ft They are not condemned, thirdly, for inward sin, 
even though it does now remain. That the corruption 
of nature does still remain, even in those who are the 
children of God by faith ; that they have in them the 
seeds of pride and vanity, of anger, lust, and evil desire, 
yea, sin of every kind ; is too plain to be denied, being 
matter of daily experience. And on this account it is, 
that St. Paul, speaking to those whom he had just before 
witnessed to be " in Christ Jesus," (1 Cor. i. 2, 9,) to 
have been " called of God into the fellowship" (or parti- 
cipation) "of his Son Jesus Christ;" yet declares, 
" Brethren, I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, 
but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." (1 
Cor. iii 1.) "Babes in Christ:" so we see they were 
" in Christ;" they were believers in a low degree. And 
yet how much of sin remained in them ! of that " carnal 
mind, whieh is not subject to the law of God !" 

6. And yet for all this, they are not condemned 
Although they feel the flesh, the evil nature, in them ; 
although they are more sensible, day by day, that their 
" heart is deceitful and desperately wicked ;" yet, so long 
as they do not yield thereto ; so long as they give no 
place to the devil ; so long as they maintain a continual 
war with all sin, with pride, anger, desire, so that the 
flesh hatb not dominion over them, but they still " walk 
after the Spirit;" "there is no condemnation to them 
which are in Christ Jesus." God is well-pleased with 
their sincere, though imperfect obedience; and they 
" have confidence toward God," knowing they are his, 
" by the Spirit which he hath given" them. (1 John 
iii. 24.) 

7 Nay, fourthly, although they are continually con- 
nnced of sin cleaving to all they do ; although they ar» 


eonscious of not fulfilling the perfect law, either in their 
thoughts, or words, or works ; although they know they 
lo not love the Lord their God with all their heart, and 
mind, and soul, and strength ; although they feel more 
or less of pride, or self-will, stealing in and mixing with 
their best duties ; although, even in their more immediate 
intercourse with God, when they assemble themselvei 
with the great congregation, and when they pour out 
their souls in secret to Him who seeth all the thoughts 
and intents of the heart, they are continually ashamed 
of their wandering thoughts, or of the deadness and dul- 
ness of their affections ; yet there is no condemnation to 
them still either from God or from their own heart. 
The consideration of these manifold defects only gives 
them a deeper sense that they have always need of that 
blood of sprinkling which speaks for them in the ears 
of God, and that Advocate with the Father " who ever 
liveth to make intercession for them." So far are these 
from driving them away from Him in whom they have 
believed, that they rather drive them the closer to Him 
whom they feel the want of every moment. And, at 
the same time, the deeper sense they have of this want, 
the more earnest desire do they feel, and the more dili- 
gent they are, as they " have received the Lord Jesus, 
so to walk in him." 

8. They are not condemned, fifthly, for sins of in- 
firmity, as they are usually called. Perhaps it were 
advisable, rather to call them infirmities, that we may 
not seem to give any countenance to sin, or to extenuate 
it iu any degree, by thus coupling it with infirmity. 
But, (if we must retain so anfbiguous and dangerous an 
expression,) by sins of infirmity I would mean such 
involuntary failings as the saying a thing we believe 
true, though, in fact, it prove to be false ; or, the hurting 
our neighbour without knowing or designing it, perhaps 
when we designed to do him good. Though these are 
deviations from the holy, and acceptable, ana perfect will 
of God, yet they are not properly sins, nor do they bring 
»ny guilt on the conscience of " them which are in Christ 


Jesus." They separate not between God and them, 
neither intercept the light of his countenance : as being 
no ways inconsistent with their general character of 
" walking not after the flesh, but after tne Spirit." 

9. Lastly. " There is no condemnation" to them fci 
my thing whatever, which it is not in their power to 
help ; whether it be of an inward or outward nature, and 
whether it be doing something or leaving something un- 
done. For instance, the Lord's supper is to be adminis- 
tered ; but you do not partake thereof. Why do you 
not ? You are confined by sickness : therefore you cannot 
help omitting it; and for the same reason you are 
not condemned. There is no guilt, because there is no 
choice. As there " is a willing mind, it is accepted 
according to that a man hath, not according to that he 
hath not." 

10. A believer, indeed, may sometimes be grieved, 
because he cannot do what his soul longs for. He may 
cry out, when he is detained from worshipping God in the 
great congregation, " Like as the hart panteth after the 
water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, God. 
My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living 
God : when shall I come to appear in the presence 
of God?" He may earnestly desire (only still saying 
in his heart, " Not as I will, but as thou wilt,") to " go 
again with the multitude, and bring them forth into the 
house of God." But still, if he cannot go, he feels no 
condemnation, no guilt, no sense of God's displeasure ; 
but can cheerfully yield up those desires wkh, " 
my Houl, put thy trust in God ! for I will yet give him 
thanks, who is the help of my countenance and my 

11. It is more difficult to determine concerning thoso 
which are usually styled sins of surprise ; as when one 
who commonly in patience possesses his soul, on a sudden 
and violent temptation, speaks or acts in a manner not 
consistent with the royal law, " Thou shah love thy 
neighbour as thyself." Perhaps it is not easy to fix a 
general rule concerning transgressions of this natur* 



We cannot say, either that men are, or that they are noi, 
condemned for sins of surprise in general : but it seeme., 
whenever a heliever is by surprise overtaken in i. fault, 
there is more or less condemnation, as there is more 01 
less concurrence of his will. In proportion as a sinful 
desire, or word, or action is more or less voluntary, sc 
wo may conceive God is more or less displeased, and 
there iB more or less guilt upon the soul. 

12. But if so, then there may be some sins of sur- 
prise which bring much guilt and condemnation. For, 
in some instances, our being surprised is owing to some 
wilful and culpable neglect; or to a sleepiness of soul 
which might have been prevented, or shaken off before 
the temptation came. A man may be previously warned, 
either of God or man, that trials and dangers are at 
hand ; and yet may say in his heart, " A little more 
slumber, a little more folding of the hands to rest." 
Now, if such an one afterwards fall, though unawares, 
into the snare which he might have avoided, — .-that he 
fell unawares is no excuse ; he might have foreseen and 
have shunned the danger. The falling, even by surprise, 
in such an instance as this, is, in effect, a wilful sin : 
and, as such, must expose the sinner to condemnation, 
both from God and his own conscience. 

13. On the other hand, there may be sudden assaults, 
cither from the world, or the god of this world, and fre- 
quently from our owl evil hearts, which we did not, and 
hardly could, foresee. And by these even a believer, 
while weak in faith, may possibly be borne down, sup- 
pose into a degree of anger, or thinking evil of another, 
with scarce any concurrence »f his will. Now, in such 
& case, the jealous God would undoubtedly sbow him 
that he had done foolishly. He would be convinced of 
having swerved nom the perfect law, from the mind 
which was in Christ, and, consequently, grieved with a 
godly sorrow, and lovingly ashamed before God. Yet 
need he not come into condemnation. God layeth noi 
folly to his charge, but hath compassion upon him. 
' wen as a father pitieth his own children." And hi* 



heart condenineth him not : in the uiidsi of that sorrow 
and shame, he can still say, " I will trust, and not be 
afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and uij 
song ; he also is become my salvation." 

III. 1. It remains only to draw some practical infer- 
ences from the preceding considerations. 

And, first, if there be " no condemnation to them 
which are in Christ Jesus," and "walk not after the 
flash, but after the Spirit," on account of their past 
sin ; then why art thou fearful, thou of little faith ? 
Though thy sins were once more in number than the 
sand, what is that to thee, now thou art in Christ 
Jesus ? " Who shall lay any thing to the charge of 
God's elect ? It is God that justificth : who is he that 
condemneth ?" All the sins thou hast committed from 
thy youth up, until the hour when thou wast " accepted 
in the Beloved," are driven away as chaff, are gone, are 
lost, swallowed up, remembered no more. Thou art now 
" born of the Spirit:" wilt thou be troubled or afraid of 
what is done before thou wert born ? Away with thy 
fears ! Thou art not called to fear, but to the " spirit 
of love and of a sound mind." Know thy calling ! 
Rejoice in God thy Saviour, and give thanks to God thy 
Father through him ! 

2. Wilt thou say, " But I have again committed sin, 
since I had redemption through his blood ? And there 
fore it is, that 'I abhor myself, and repent in dust and 
ishes.'" It is meet thou shouldest abhor thyself; and 
it is God who hath wrought thee to this selfsame 
thing. But, dost thou now believe ? Hath he again 
enabled thee to say, "I know that my Redeemer 
liveth ;" " and the life which I now live, I live by faith 
in the Son of God ?" Then that faith again cancels al' 
that is past, and there is no condemnation to thee. At 
whatsoever time thou truly believest in the name of the 
Son of God, all thy sins, antecedent to that hour, 
vanish away as the morning dew. Now then, " stand 
thou fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made 
thee free " He hath once more made thee free from 


the power of sin, as well as from the guilt and punish- 
ment of it. Oh, " be not entangled again with the yoke 
of bondage !" — neither the vile, devilish bondage of sin, 
or evil desires, evil tempers, or words, or works, the 
most grievous yoke on this side hell ; nor the bondage 
of slavish, tormenting fear, of guilt and self-condemna- 

3. But, secondly, do all they which abide " in Christ 
Jesus walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?" 
Then we cannot but infer, that whosoever now commit- 
ted! sin, hath no part or lot in this matter. He is even 
now condemned by his own heart But, " if our heart 
condemn us," if our own conscience beareth witness that 
we are guilty, undoubtedly God doth ; for " he is greater 
than our heart, and knoweth all things ;" so that we can- 
not deceive him, if we can ourselves. And think not 
to say, " I was justified once; my sins were once forgiven 
me :" I know not that ; neither will I dispute whether 
they were or no. Perhaps, at this distance of time, it 
is next to impossible to know, with any tolerable degree 
of certainty, whether that was a true, genuine work of 
God, or whether thou didst only deceive thy own soul. 
But this I know, with the utmost degree of certainty, 
"he that committeth sin is of the devil." Therefore, 
thou art of thy father the devil. It cannot be denied : 
for the works of thy father thou doest. Oh, flatter not 
thyself with vain hopes ! Say not to thy soul, " Peace, 
peace !" For there is no peace. Cry aloud ! Cry unto 
God out of the deep; if haply he may hear thy voice. 
Come unto him as at first, as wretched and poor, as 
sinful, miserable, blind, and naked ! And beware 
thou suffer thy soul to take no rest, till his pardoning 
love be again revealed ; till he " heal thy backslidings,' 
hud fill thee again with the " faith that worketh by 

4. Thirdly. Is there no condemnation to them which 
"walk after the Spirit," by reason of inward sin still 
remaining, so long as they do not give way thereto ; 
tor by reason of sin cleaving to all they do ? Then 


fret not thyself because of ungodliness, though it stiL 
remain in thy heart. Repine not, because thou still 
comest short of the glorious image of God ; nor yet 
because pride, self-will, or unbelief cleave to all thy 
words and works. And be not afraid to know all this 
evil of thy heart; to know thyself as also thou art 
known Yea, desire of God, that thou mayest not think 
of thyself more highly than thou oughtest tc think. 
Let thy continual prayer be, 

" Show me, as my soul caD bear, 
Tbe depth of inbred sin; 
All the unbelief declare, 

The pride that lurks within." 

But when he hcareth thy prayer, and unveils thy heart; 
when he shows thee thoroughly what spirit thou art of; 
then beware that thy faith fail thee not, that thou suffer 
not thy shield to be torn from thee. Be abased. Bo 
humbled in the dust. See thyself nothing, less than 
nothing, and vanity. But still "let not thy heart be 
troubled, neither let it be afraid." Still hold fast, " I, 
even I, have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ 
the righteous." " And as the heavens are higher than 
the earth, so is his love higher than even my sins." 
Therefore God is merciful to thee a sinner ! such a sin- 
ner as thou art ! God is love ; and Christ hath died ! 
Therefore the Father himself loveth thee ! Thou art 
his child ! Therefore he will withhold from thee no 
manner of thing that is good. Is it good, that the whole 
body of sin, which is now crucified in thee, should be 
destroyed ? It shall be done ! Thou shalt be " cleansed 
from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit." Is it good, 
that nothing should remain in thy heart but the pure 
love of God alone ? Be of good cheer ! " Thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and mind, and 
soul, and strength." " Faithful is he that hath pro- 
mised, who also will do it." It is thy part, patiently to 
sontinuc in the work of faith, and in the labour of love, 
ind in cheerful peace, in humble confidence, with oalnr 



and resigned and yet earnest expectation, to wait till the 
seal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this. 

5. Fourthly. If they that " are in Christ," and "walk 
after the Spirit," are not condemned for sim of infirmity 
as neither for involuntary failings, nor for any thing 
whatever which they are not able to help ; then beware, 
thou that hast faith in his blood, that Satan herein 
gain no advantage over thee. Thou art still foolish and 
weak, blind and ignorant ; more weak than any words 
can express ; more foolish than it can yet enter into thy 
heart to conceive ; knowing nothing yet as thou ought- 
est to know. Yet let not all thy weakness and folly, 
or any fruit thereof, which thou art not yet able to avoid, 
shake thy faith, thy filial trust in God, or disturb thj 
peace or joy in the Lord. The rule which some give, as 
to wilful sins, and which, in that case, may perhaps be 
dangerous, is undoubtedly wise and safe, if it be applied 
only to the case of weakness and infirmities. Art thou 
fallen, man of God ? Yet, do not lie there, fretting 
thyself, and bemoaning thy weakness; but meekly say, 
"Lord, I shall fall thus every moment, unless thou 
jphold me with thy hand." And then arise ! Leap 
and walk ! Go on thy way ! " Run with patience the 
race that is set before thee." 

I). Lastly. Since a believer need not come into con- 
demnation, even though he be surprised into what 
his soul abhors ; (suppose his being surprised is not 
owing to any carelessness or wilful neglect of his own ;) 
if thou who believest art thus overtaken in a fault, then 
grieve unto the Lord : it shall bo a precious balm. Pour 
out thy heart before him, and 'show him <>f thy trouble; 
and pray with all thy might to Him who is "touched 
with the feeling of thy infirmities," that he would esta 
blish, and strengthen, and settle thy soul, and suffer thee 
to fall no more. But still he condemneth thee not 
Wherefore shouldcst thou fear ? Thou hast no need of 
any "fear that hath torment." Thou shalt love liim 
that loveth thee, and it sufliceth : more love will I ring 

aore strength. And, as soon as thou lovest him witb 
e i. — i, i» 


all thy heart, thou shalt be " perfect and entire, lacking 
nothing." Wait in peace for that hour when "the Qod 
of pcaoe shall sanctify thee wholly, so that thy whole 
spirit and soul and body may be preserved bhunole«t 
nato the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ • ' 


Ques. 1. (If 1.) What does St. Paul mean by "them that 
are in Christ Jesus ? " 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) Why is there no condemnation? 

Ques. 3. (If 3.) Why has this sacrifice been misunder- 
stood ? 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What does he propose to show first? 

Ques. 5. (I. 2.) What is said of those who abide in Christ? 

Ques. 6. (I. 3.) From what do they abstain? 

Ques. 7. (I. 4.) How do they walk? 

Ques. 8. (I. 5.) What is said of their conversation? 

Ques. 9. (I. 6.) What is further said of them? 

Ques. 10. (II. I.) What is next proposed ? 

Ques. 11. (II. 2.) What is said of the sense of guilt? 

Ques. 12. (II. 3.) Can a believer lose this sense of God's 

Ques. 13. (II. 4.) Why is he not condemned for present 

Ques. 14. (II. 5.) What is said concerning inward sin ? 

Ques. 15. (II. 6.) Do they still feel the evil nature? 

Ques. 16. (II. 7.) What is further said on this point? 

Ques. 17. (II. 8.) What is said of sins of infirmity? Are 
these properly called sins? 

Ques. 18. (II. 9.) Are any condemned for what they can- 
not help? 

Ques. 19. (II. 10.) Why may a believer be sometimes 
grieved ? 

Ques. 20. (II. 11 ) What is said of "sins of surprise?" 

Q"«s». 21 . (II. 12.) May any of these bring a sense of guilt ? 



Ques. 22. (II. 13.) What is said of sudden assaults? 

Ques. 23. (III. 1.) What is the first inference drawn? 

Ques. 24. (III. 2.) What is said of willful sin? 

Ques. 25. (III. 3.) What is the second inference? 

Ques. 26. (III. 4.) What is the third ? 

Ques. 27. (III. 5.) What is the fourth? 

Ques. 28. (III. 6.) How does the sermon conclude? 


"In this sermon," says Prof. Burwash, "we have very 
clearly presented the discriminating breadth of Mr. Wes- 
ley's analysis of the religious condition of mankind. While 
the classification of moral states is simple and exact, it rec 
ognizes in the probationary state three forms of moral condi- 
tion, not two only, as will be the case when probation is 
ended. And it still further recognizes the fact that a man's 
position may be so uncertainly defined that he may vacillate 
between first and second or between second and third of 
these three. But the uncertainties and imperfections of 
the human will lead him to preach no uncertain gospel. He 
preaches the full standard of salvation, and in the name of 
his Master summons all men to meet its requirements. The 
special aspect of salvation presented in this sermon is the 
blessed privilege of freedom from the bondage of sin. Mr. 
Wesley understands this to be not an imputed or ideal free- 
dom, but a real and moral freedom. This is enlarged in a 
subsequent discourse. This great truth he received from 
the Moravian Church. He says: 'When Peter Boehler, 
whom God had prepared for me as soon as I came to Lon- 
don, affirmed of true faith in Christ that it had those two 
fruits inseparably attending it, " dominion over sin and con- 
stant peace from a sense of forgiveness," I was quite amazed, 
and looked upon it as a new gospel.' But when he had veri- 
fied it by the word of God and in his own experience, he 
held and preached it henceforth as the truth of God. We 
shall see, however, in the thirteenth and fourteenth sermons 



how he guarded this important truth against one-sided in- 
terpretations put upon it by the Moravians. Except among 
a few of the profounder mystics, this truth hud been lost to 
the view of the Christian Church ever since the apostolic 
and primitive age, and Mr. Wesley regarded its restoration 
as one of the special ends for which God raised up Method- 


Three moral states are here implied: the natural man, the 
man under the law, and the man under grace. 

I. The natural man is asleep, secure, ignorant of himself, 
walks in fancied joy and liberty, is the willing servant of sin. 

II. The man under the law is awakened, sees the breadth 
of God's law and his own sin, feels the anguish of a wounded 
spirit, struggles against his chains, but in vain, and is de- 
scribed in the seventh chapter of Komans. 

III. The nian under grace has received the Spirit of adop- 
tion, sees God's love; freed from the guilt and power of sin, 
is become tc e servant of righteousness. 

Summary. The first neither fears nor loves God, has false 
peace and fancied liberty, sins willingly, and neither tights 
nor conquers; the second fears but does not love God, walks 
in the painful light of hell, has no peace, lives in bondage 
sins unwillingly, and fights, but does not conquer; the third 
loves God, walks in the light of heaven, has the true peace 
and liberty of God's children, sinneth not, and is more than 

IV Lessons. 

1. Sincerity is not sufficient. 2. These states are some- 
times mingled. 3. A man may go far, and yet be only in a 
legal state. 4. Let us not rest short of the best th J5g3. 




>F« have not received (he spirit of bondage again to fear ; 6m 
ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby tee cry, Abba, 
Father." — Romans viii. 15. 

1. St. Paul here speaks to those who are the chil- 
dren of God by faith. " Ye," saith he, who are indeed 
his children, have drunk into his Spirit ; " ye have not 
received the spirit of bondage again unto fear;" but, 
' because ye are sons, Q-od hath sent forth the Spirit of 
his Son into your hearts." "Ye have received the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." 

2. The spirit of bondage and fear is widely distant 
from this loving Spirit of adoption : those who are in- 
fluenced only by slavish fear cannot be termed " the 
sons of God ;" yet some of them may be styled his ser- 
vants, and are "not far from the kingdom of heaven." 

3. But it is to be feared, the bulk of mankind, yea, 
of what is called the Christian world, have not attained 
even this ; but are still afar off, " neither is God in all 
their thoughts." A few names may be found of thoso 
who love God ; a few more there are that fear him ; 
but the greater part have neifher the fear of God before 
their eyes, nor the love of God in their hearts. 

4. Perhaps most of you, who, by the mercy of God, 
now partake of a better spirit, may remember the time 
when ye were as they, when ye were under the same 
condemnation. But at first ye knew ir, not, though yc 
were wallowing daily in your sins and in your blood; 
till, in due time, yc "received the spirit of fear," (y« 
wnW, for this is also the gift of God;) and after 

12 K vol. I. « 


wards, fear vanished away, and the Spirit of love filled 
your hearts. 

ft. One who is in the first state of mind, without feai 
or love, is in Scripture termed a " natural man :" one 
who is under the spirit of bondage and fear, is some- 
times said to be "under the law;" (although that ex 
pression more frequently signifies one who is under th* 
Jewish dispensation, or who thinks himself obliged to 
observe all the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law ;) 
but one who has exchanged the spirit of fear for the 
Spirit of lore is properly said to be " under grace." 

Now, because it highly imports us to know what 
spirit we are of, I shall endeavour to point out distinctly, 
first, the state of a " natural man ;" secondly, that of 
one who is " under the law ;" and, thirdly, of one who 
is " under grace." 

1. 1. And, first, the state of a natural man. This 
the Scripture represents as a state of sleep : the voice of 
God to him is, " Awake, thou that sleepest." For his 
soul is in a deep sleep : his spiritual senses are not 
awake : they discern neither spiritual good nor evil. 
The eyes of his understanding are closed ; they are 
sealed together, and see not. Clouds and darkness con- 
tinually rest upon them ; for he lies in the valley of the 
shadow of death. Hence, having no inlets for the 
knowledge of spiritual things, all the avenues of his 
soul being shut up, he is in gross, stupid ignorance of 
whatever he is most concerned to know. He is utterly 
ignorant of God, knowing nothing concerning him as he 
ought to know. He is totally a stranger to the law of 
God, as to its true, inward, spiritual meaning. He has 
no conception of that evangelical holiness, without which 
no man shall see the Lord ; nor of the happiness which 
they only find whose " life is hid with Christ in God." 

2. And, for this very reason, because he is fast asleep, 
he is, in some sense, at rest. Because he is blind, he is 
also secure : he saith, " Tush, there shall no harm hap- 
pen unto me." The darkness which covers him on 
Tvory nide keeps him in a kind of peace ; so far u 



peace can consist with the works of the devil, and with 
an earthly, devilish mind. He sees not that he stands 
on the edge of the pit; therefore he fears it not. He 
cannot tremble at the danger he does not know. He 
has not understanding enough to fear. Why is it that 
he is in no dread of God ? Because he is totally igno- 
rant of him : if not saying in his heart, " There is no 
God ;" or, that " he sitteth on the circle of the heavens, 
and humbleth' not "himself to behold the things 
which are dona on earth ;" yet satisfying himself as 
well, to all Epicurean intents and purposes, by saying, 
" God is merciful ;" confounding and swallowing up all 
at once in that unwieldy idea of mercy, all his holiness 
and essential hatred of sin ; all his justice, wisdom, and 
truth. He is in no dread of the vengeance denounced 
against those who obey not the blessed law of God, be- 
cause he understands it not. He imagines the main 
point is, to do thus, to be outwardly blameless ; and 
sees not that it extends to every temper, desire, thought, 
motion of the heart. Or, he fancies that the obligation 
hereto is ceased ; that Christ came to " destroy the Law 
and the Prophets;" to save his people in, not from, 
their sins ; to bring them to heaven without holiness : — 
notwithstanding his own words, " Not one jot or tittle 
of the law shall pass away, till all things are fulfilled ;" 
and, " Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord ! 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that 
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." 

3. He is secure, because he is utterly ignorant of 
himself. Hence he talks of " repenting by and by ;" 
he does not indeed exactly Snow when, but some time 
or other before he dies ; taking it for granted, that thi; 
is quite in his own power. For what should hinder his 
doing it, if he will ? If he does but once ret a resolu- 
tion, no fear but he will make it good ! 

4. But this ignorance never so strongly glares, as in 
those who are termed men of learning. If a natural 
man be one of these, he can talk at large of his rational 
(acuities, ef the freedom of his will, and the absolute 


ncc*ttsity of such freedom, in order to constitute man a 
moral agent. He reads, and argues, and proves to n 
demonstration, that every man may do as he will ; may 
dispose his own heart to evil or good, as it seems best in 
bis own eyes. Thus the god of this world spreads a 
double veil of blindness over his heart, lest, by any 
means, " the light of the glorious gospel of Christ 
should shine" upon it. 

5. From the same ignorance of himself and God, 
there may sometimes arise, in the natural man, a kind 
of joy, in congratulating himself upon his own wisdom 
and goodness : and what the world calls joy, he may 
often possess. He may have pleasure in various kinds ; 
either in gratifying the desires of the flesh, or the de- 
sire of the eye, or the pride of life; particularly if he 
lias large possessions ; if he enjoy an affluent fortune ; 
then he may "clothe" himself "in purple and fine 
linen, and fare sumptuously every day." And so long 
as he thus doeth well unto himself, men will doubtless 
speak good of him. They will say, " He is a happy 
man." For, indeed, this is the sum of worldly happi 
ness ; to dress, and visit, and talk, and eat, and drink, 
and rise up to play. 

6. It is not surprising, if one in such circumstance* 
as these, dosed with the opiates of flattery and sin, 
should imagine, among his other waking dreams, that 
he walks in great liberty. How easily may he persuade 
himself, that he is at liberty from all vulgar errors, and 
from the prejudice of education ; judging exactly right, 
aiid keeping clear of all extremes ! " I am free," may 
he say, " from all the enthusiasm of weak and narrow 
souls ; from superstition, the disease of fools and cow- 
ard:., always righteous overmuch ; and from bigotry, 
continually incident to those who have not a free and 
generous way of thinking." And too sure it is, that he 
is altogether free from the " wisdom which cometh from 
above," from holiness, from the religion of the hpart 
from the whole mind which was in Christ. 

7. For ill this time he is the servant of sin H# 


commits sin, more or less, day by day. Yet he is noi 
troubled, he "is in no bondage," as some speak; he 
feels no condemnation. He contents himself (even 
though he should profess to believe that the Christian 
Revelation is of God) with, " Man is frail. We are all 
weak. Every man has his infirmity." Perhaps he 
quotes Scripture : " Why, does not Solomon say, The 
righteous man falls into sin seven times a day ? And, 
doubtless, they are all hypocrites or enthusiasts who 
pretend to be better than their neighbours." If, at any 
time, a serious thought fix upon him, he stifles it as 
soon as possible, with, "Why should I fear, since God 
is merciful, and Christ died for sinners ?" Thus, he 
remains a willing pervant of sin, content with the bond- 
age of corruption ; inwardly and outwardly unholy, and 
satisfied therewith ; not only not conquering sin, but 
not striving to conquer, particularly that sin which doth 
so easily beset him. 

8. Such is the st*ite of every natural man ; whether 
be be a gross, scandalous transgressor, or a more repu- 
table and decent sinner, having the form, though not the 
power of godliness. But how can such an one be con- 
vinced of sin f How is he brought to repent t to be 
under the law? to receive the spirit of bondage unto fear f 
This is the point which is next to be considered. 

H. 1. By some awful providence, or by his word ap- 
plied with the demonstratior of his Spirit, God touches 
the heart of him that lay asleep in darkness and in the 
shadow of death. He is terribly shaken out of his 
sleep, and awakes into a consciousness of his danger. 
Perhaps in a moment, perhaps by degrees, the eyes of 
his understanding are opened, and now first (the veil 
being in part removed) discern the r^al state he is in 
Horrid light breaks in upon his soul ; such light as may 
be conceived to gleam from the bottomless pit, from the 
lowest deep, from a lake of fire burning with brimstone 
He at last sees the loving>, the merciful God ic also " a 
consuming fire ;" that he is a just God and a te-riblo. 
rendering to every man according to his works, enteriue 


into judgment with the ungodly for every idle word 
yea, and for the imaginations of the heart. He now 
clearly perceives, that the great and holy God is " of 
purer eyes than to behold iniquity ;" that he is an aven- 
ger of every one who rebelleth against him, and rtpayeth 
the wicked to his face ; and that " it is a fearful thing 
to fall into the hands of the living God." 

2. The inward, spiritual meaning of the law of God 
now begins to glare upon him. He perceives "the 
commandment is exceeding broad," and there is " no- 
thing hid from the light thereof." He is convinced, 
that every part of it relates, not barely to outward sin 
or obedience, but to what passes in the secret recesses 
of the soul, which no eye but God's can penetrate. If 
he now hears, " Thou shalt not kill," God speaks in 
thunder, " He that hateth his brother is a murderer;" 
" He that saith unto his brother, Thou fool, is obnoxious 
to hell-fire." If the law say, " Thou shalt not commit 
adultery," the voice of the Lord sounds in his ears. 
" He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath 
committed adultery with her already in his heart." And 
tnus, in every point, he feels the word of God "quick 
and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword." It 
" pierces even to the dividing asunder of his soul and 
spirit, his joints and marrow." And so much the more, 
because he is conscious to himself of having neglected 
so great salvation ; of having " trodden under foot the 
Son of God," who would have saved him from his sins, 
und " counted the blood of the covenant an unholy," a 
common, unsanctifying " thing." 

3. And as he knows, "all things are naked and open 
nnto the eyes of him with whom we have to do," so he 
sees himself naked, stripped of all the fig-leaves which 
he had sewed together, of all his poor pretences to reli- 
gion or virtue, and his wretched excuses for sinning 
against God. He now sees himself like the ancient sa 
orifices, Titpazri%io/*tvov, cleft in sunder, as it were, front 
the neck downward, so that all within him stands con 
(owed His heart is bare, and he sees it is all sin, " de 


ceitful above all things, desperately wicked ;" that it is 
altogether corrupt and abominable, more than it is pos- 
sible for tongue to express ; that there dwelleth therein 
no good thing, but unrighteousness and ungodliness 
only; every motion thereof, every temper and thought, 
being only evil continually. 

4. And he not only sees, but feels in himself, by an 
emotion of soul which he cannot describe, that for the 
sins of his heart, were his life without blame, (which yet 
it is not, and cannot be ; seeing " an evil tree cannot 
bring forth good fruit,") he deserves to be cast into the 
fire that never shall be quenched. He feels that " the 
wages," the just reward, " of sin," of his sin above all, 
" is death ;" even the second death ; the death which 
dieth not ; the destruction of body and soul in hell. 

5. Here ends his pleasing dream, his delusive rest, 
his false peace, his vain security. His joy now vanishes 
as a cloud; pleasures, once loved, delight no more. 
They pall upon the taste : he loathes the nauseous 
sweet ; he is weary to bear them. The shadows of hap 
piness flee away, and sink into oblivion : so that he is 
stripped of all, and wanders to and fro, seeking rest, but 
finding none. 

6. The fumes of those opiates being now dispelled, 
he feels the anguish of a wounded spirit. He finds that 
sin let loose upon the soul (whether it be pride, anger, 
or evil desire, whether self-will, malice, envy, revenge, 
or any other) is perfect misery: he feels sorrow of 
heart for the blessings he has lost, and the curse which 
is come upon him; remorse for having thus destroyed 
himself, and despised his own mercies; fear, from a 
lively sense of the wrath of God, and of the conse- 
quences of his wrath, of the punishment which he ha? 
justly deserved, and which he sees hanging over his 
head ; — fear of death, as being to him the gate of hell 
the entrance of death eternal ; — fear of the devil, the 
executioner of the wrath and righteous vengeance of 
God ; — fear of men, who, if they were able to kill hie 
body, would thereby plunge both body and sou' ink 


h<dl ; — fear, sometimes arising to such a height, that th« 
poor, sinful, guilty soul is terrified with every thing, 
with nothing, with shades, with a leaf shakun of the 
wind. Yea, sometimes it may even border upon dis- 
traction, making a man " drunken though not with 
wine," suspending the exercise of the memory, of the 
understanding, of all the natural faculties. Sometimes 
it may approach to the very brink of despair ; so that 
he who trembles at the name of de^th may yet bo 
ready to plunge into it every moment, to " choose stran- 
gling rather than life." Well may such a man roar, like 
him of old, for the very disquietness of his heart. Well 
may he cry out, " The spirit of a man may sustain his 
infirmities ; but a wounded spirit who can bear ?" 

7. Now he truly desires to break loose from sin, and 
begins to struggle with it. But though he strive with 
all his might, he cannot conquer : sin is mightier than 
he. He would fain escape ; but he is so fast in prison, 
that he cannot get forth. He resolves against sin, but 
yet sins on : he sees the snare, and abhors and runs into 
it So much does his boasted reason avail, — only to 
enhance his guilt, and increase his misery! Such is the 
freedom of his will ; free only to evil ; free to " drink 
in iniquity like water ;" to wander farther and farther 
from the living God, and do more " despite to the Spirit 
of grace I" 

8. The more he strives, wishes, labours to be free, 

the more does he feel his chains, the grievous chains of 

sin, wherewith Satan binds and " leads him captive at 

his will ;" his servant he is, though he repine ever so 

much ; though he rebel, he cannot prevail. He is still 

in bondage anil fear, by reason of sin ; generally, of 

some outward sin, to which he is peculiarly disposed, 

either by nature, custom, or outward circumstances ; but 

always, of some inward sin, some evil temper or unholy 

affection. And the more he frets against it, the more 

it prevails ; he may bite, but cannot break his chain. 

Thus he toils without end, repenting and sinning, and 

repenting and sinning again, till at length the poor, >ud 


ful, helpless wretch is even at his wit s end, and can 
barely groan, "0 wretched man that I am ! who shaL 
deliver me from the body of this deaih ?" 

9. This whole struggle of one who is "under the 
law," under the " spirit of fear and bondage," is beau 
tifully described by the apostle in the foregoing chapter, 
Bpeaking in the person of an awakened man. " I," saith 
he, " was alive without the law once :" (verse 9 :) I had 
much life, wisdom, strength, and virtue ; so I thought. 
" But when the commandment came, sin revived, and I 
died :" when the commandment, in its spiritual meaning, 
came to my heart, with the power of God, my inbred 
sin was stirred up, fretted, inflamed, and all my virtue 
died away " And the commandment, which was or- 
dained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking 
occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it 
slew me :" (verses 10, 11 :) it came upon me unawares; 
slew all my hopes ; and plainly showed, in the midst of 
life I was in death. " Wherefore the law is holy, and 
the commandment holy, and just, and good :" (verse 12 :) 
I no longer lay the blame on this, but on the corruption 
of my own heart. I acknowledge that " the law is spi- 
ritual ; but I am carnal, sold under sin :" (verse 14 :) 
I now see both the spiritual nature of the law ; and my 
own carnal, devilish heart " sold under sin," totally en- 
slaved : (like slaves bought with money, who were abso- 
lutely at their master's disposal :) — " for that which I 
do, I allow not ; for what I would, I do not ; but whal 
I hate, that I do :" (verse 15 :) such is the bondage 
under which I groan; such the tyranny of my hard 
master. " To will is present. with me ; but how to per- 
form that which is good I find not. For the good thai 
I would, I do not ; but the evil which I would not, thai 
I do :" (verses 18, 19 :) " I find a law," an inward, con- 
straining power, " that, when I would do good, evil it 
present with me. For I delight in," or consent to, 
"the la«v of God, after the inward man :" (verses 21, 
22 :) in my " mind :" (so the apostle explains himself 
a the words that immediately follow; and so o •»« 


»v9f>u»to(, tlie inward man, is understood in all other 
Greek writers :) — " but I see another law in my mem 
bers," another constraining power, " warring against the 
law of my mind," or inward man, "and bringing me 
into captivity to the law" or power "of sin:" (verse 
23 :) dragging me, as it were, at my conqueror's cha- 
riot-wheels, into the very thing which my soul abhors. 
"O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me 
irom the body of this death ?" (verse 24.) Who shall 
deliver me from this helpless, dying life, from this bond- 
age of sin and misery ? Till this is done, " I myself" 
(or rather, that T, wvrof tyu, that man I am now per- 
sonating) " with the mind," or inward man, " serve the 
law of God ;" my mind, my conscience is on God's side : 
" but with my flesh," with my body, " the law of sin," 
(verse 25,) being hurried away by a force I cannot re- 

10. How lively a portraiture is this of one " under 
the law !" one who feels the burden he cannot shake off; 
who pants after liberty, power, and love, but is in fear 
and bondage still ! until the time that God answers the 
wretched man, crying out, " Who shall deliver me" 
from this bondage of sin, from this body of death? — 
" The grace of God through Jesus Christ thy Lord." 

III. 1. Then it is that this miserable bondage ends; 
and he is no more " under the law, but under grace." 
This state we are, thirdly, to consider; the state of one 
who has found yrace or favour in the sight of God, even 
the Father, and who has the yrace or power of the Hoiy 
Ghost reigning in his heart ; who has received, in the 
language of the apostle, the " Spirit of adoption, 
whereby" he now cries, " Abba, Father !" 

2. " He cried unto the Lord in his trouble, and God 
delivers him out of his distress." His eyes are opened 
in quite another manner than before, even to see a 
loving, gracious God. While he is calling, " I beseech 
thee, show me thy glory !" — he hears a voice in his in- 
most soul, " T will make all my goodness pass before 
thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord : T will 


be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show 
mercy to whom I will show mercy." And it is not long 
before " the Lord descends in the cloud, and proclaims 
the name of the Lord." Then he sees, but not with 
eyes of flesh and blood, " The Lord, the Lord God, 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in 
goodness and truth ; keeping mercy for thousands, and 
forgiving iniquities, and transgressions, and sin." 

3. Heavenly, healing light now breaks in upon his 
soul. He " looks on Him whom he had pierced ;" and 
" God, who out of darkness commanded light to shine, 
shiueth in his heart." He sees the light of the glorious 
love of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. He hath a 
divine " evidence of things not seen" by sense, even of 
" the deep things of God ;" more particularly of the love 
of God, of his pardoning love to him that believes in 
Jesus. Overpowered with the sight, his whole soul cries 
out, " My Lord, and my God I" For he sees all his 
iniquities laid on Him who " bare them in his own body 
on the tree :" he beholds the Lamb of God taking away 
his sins. How clearly now does he discern that " God 
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; 
making Him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might 
be made the righteousness of God through Him ;" — and 
that he himself is reconciled to God, by that blood of 
the covenant ! 

4. Here end both the guilt and power of sin. He 
aan now say, " I am crucified with Christ ; nevertheless 
I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life 
which I now live in the flesh," (even in this mortal 
body,) " I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved 
me, and gave himself for me." Here end remorse, and 
sorrow of heart, and the anguish of a wounded spirit. 
"God turneth his heaviness into joy." He made sore, 
and now his hands bind up. Here ends also that bond- 
age unto fear ; for " his heart standeth fast, believing 
in the Lord." He cannot fear any longer the wrath of 
God ; for he knows it is now turned away from him, 
ud Wks upon Him no more as an angry Judge, but »* 

i.— u i» 


i loving Father. He cannot fear the devil, knowing hi 
has " no power, except it be given him from above." He 
fears not belt ; being an heir of the kingdom of heaven • 
consequently, he has no fear of death ; by reason where- 
of he was in time past, for so many years, " subject to 
bondage." Rather, knowing that " if the earthly house 
of this tabernacle be dissolved, he hath a building of 
God, u house not made with hands, eternal in the 
iieavens ; he groaneth earnestly, desiring to be clothed 
upon with that house which is from heaven." He groans 
to shake off this house of earth, that " mortality" may 
be " swallowed up of life ;" knowing that God " hath 
wrought him for the selfsame thing; who hath also 
given him the earnest of his Spirit." 

5. And " where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty ;" liberty, not only from guilt and fear, but from 
sin, from that heaviest of all yokes, that basest of all 
bondage. His labour is not now in vain. The snaie is 
broken, and he is delivered. He not only strives, but 
likewise prevails ; he not only fights, but conquers also. 
" Henceforth he does not serve sin." (Chap vi. 6, &c.) 
He is "dead unto sin, and alive unto God ;" " sin doth 
not now reign" even " in his mortal body," nor doth he 
"obey it in the desires thereof." He does not "yield 
his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, 
but as instruments of righteousness unto God." For 
" being now made free from sin, he is become the ser- 
vant of righteousness." 

6. Thus " having peace with God through our Lord 
Jesus Christ," " rejoicing in hope of the glory of God,'' 
and having power over all sin, over every evil desire, 
and temper, and word, and work, he is a living witness 
of the " glorious liberty of the sons of God ;" all of 
whom, being partakers of like precious faith, bear record 
with one voice, " We have received the Spirit of adop- 
tion, whereby we cry, Abba, Father !" 

7. It is this Spirit which continually " worketh in 
them, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." It 
is he that sbcds the love of God abroad in their heart*. 



and the lovu of all mankind ; thereby purifying their 
ben its from the love of the world, from the hurt of the 
flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. It is 
bj him they are delivered from anger and pride, from 
all rile and inordinate affections. In consequence, they 
are delivered from evil words and works, from all unho- 
iiness of conversation, doing no evil to any child of man, 
and being zealous of all good works. 

8. To sum up all : The natural man neither fears nor 
loves God ; one under the law, fears, — one under grace, 
loves him. The first has no light in the things of God, 
but walks in utter darkness ; the second sees the painful 
light of hell ; the third, the joyous light of heaven. He 
that sleeps in death has a false peace ; he that is awa- 
kened has no peace at all; he that believes has true 
peace, — the peace of God filling and ruling his heart. 
The heathen, baptized or unbaptized, hath a fancied 
liberty, which is indeed licentiousness ; the Jew, or one 
under the Jewish dispensation, is in heavy, grievous 
bondage ; the Christian enjoys the true, glorious liberty 
nf the sons of God. An unawakened child of the devil 
sins willingly ; one that is awakened sins unwillingly ; 
a child of God " sinneth not," but " keepeth himself, 
and the wicked one toucheth him not." To conclude : 
the natural man neither conquers nor fights; the wan 
under the law fights with sin but cannot conquer ; the 
man under grace fights and conquers, yea, is " more than 
"onqueror through Him that loveth him." 

IV 1. From this plain account of the threefold state 
of man, the natural, the legal, and the evangelical, it 
appears that it is not sufficient to divide mankind into 
sincere and insincere. A man may be sincere in any 
of these states; not only when he has the "Spirit of 
adoption," but while he has the " spirit of bondage unto 
fear;" yea, while he has neither this fear, nor love. 
For, undoubtedly, there may be sincere heathens, as 
well as sincere Jews or Christians. This circumstance, 
then, does by no means prove that a maD is in a state 
>■' acceptance with God. 



" Examine yourselves, therefore, " not only whuthci 
ye aie sincere, but " whether ye be in the faith." Ex- 
amine narrowly, (for it imports you much,) what is the 
ruling principle in your soul? Is it the love of God? 
Is it the fear of God ? Or is it neither one nor the 
other? Is it not rather the love of the world ? the love 
of pleasure or gain ? of ease or reputation ? If so, jon 
are not come so far as a Jew. You are but a heathen 
still. Have you heaven in your heart? Have you the 
Spirit of adoption, ever crying, Abba, Father ? Or dt 
you cry God, as " out of the belly of hell," over- 
whelmed with sorrow and fear ? Or are you a stranger 
to this whole affair, and cannot imagine what I mean ? 
Heathen, pull off the mask ! Thou hast never put on 
Christ ! Stand barefaced ! Look up to heaven ; and 
own before Him that liveth for ever and ever, thou hast 
no part either among the sons or servants of God ! 

Whosoever thou art, dost thou commit sin, or dost 
thou not? If thou dost, is it willingly or unwillingly? 
In cither case, God hath told thee whose thou art : 
" He that committeth sin is of the devil." If thou 
sommittcst it willingly, thou art his faithful servant : he 
will not fail to reward thy labour. If unwillingly, 
still thou art his servant. God deliver thee out of hi? 
hands ! 

Art thou daily fighting against all sin ? and daily 
more than conqueror? I acknowledge thee for a child 
of God. Oh, standfast in thy glorious liberty! Art 
thou fighting, but not conquering? striving for tho mas- 
tery, but not able to attain ? Then thou art not yet a 
believer in Christ; but follow on, and thou shalt know 
the Lord. Art thou not fighting at all, but leading au 
easy, indolent, fashionable life ? Oh, how hast thou dared 
to name the name of Christ, only to make it a reproach 
among the heathen ? Awake, thou sleeper ! Call upon 
thy God, before the deep swallow thee up ! 

2. Perhaps one reason why so many think of them 
wives more highly than they ought to think, why thej 


do not discern what state they are in, is, because tnese 
several states of t ml are often mingled together, and in 
some measure meet in one and the same person. Thus 
experience' shows, that the legal state, or state of fear, is 
frequently mixed with the natural ; for few men are so 
fast asleep in sin, but they are sometimes more or less 
awakened. As the Spirit of God does not " wait for the 
call of man," so, at some times, he will be heard. He 
put* them in fear, so that, for a season, at least, the 
heathen " know themselves to be but men." They feel 
the burden of sin, and earnestly desire to flee from the 
wrath to come. But not long : they seldom suffer the 
arrows of conviction to go deep into their souls ; but 
quickly stifle the grace of God, and return to their wal- 
lowing in the mire. 

In like manner, the evangelical state, or state of love, 
is frequently mixed with the legal. For few of those 
who have the spirit of bondage and fear remain always 
without hope. The wise and gracious God rarely suffers 
this ; " for he remembereth that we are but dust ;" and 
he willeth not that " the flesh should fail before him, or 
the spirit which he hath made." Therefore, at such 
times as he seeth good, he gives a dawning of light unto 
them that sit in darkness. He causes a part of his 
goodness to pass before them, and shows that he is a 
" God that heareth the prayer." They see the promise, 
which is by faith in Christ Jesus, though it be yet afar 
off; aud hereby they are encouraged to "run with pa- 
tience the race which is set before them." 

3. Another reason why many deceive themselves, is, 
because they do not consider h6w far a man may go, and 
/et be in a natural, or, at best, a legal state. A man 
may be of a compassionate and a benevolent temper ; 
he may be affable, courteous, generous, friendly ; he 
may have some degree of meekness, patience, temper- 
ince, and of many other moral virtues. He may feel 
many desires of shaking off all vice, and of attaining 
higher degrees of virtue. He may abstain from muoE 

■ 2 u 


evil ; perhaps from all that is grossly contrary to justice 
mercy, or truth. He may Jo much good, may feed the 
hungry, clothe the naked, relieve the widow and father 
less. He may attend public worship, use prayer in pri- 
vate, road many books of devotion ; and yet for all this 
he may be a mere natural man, knowing neither him- 
self nor God ; equally a stranger to the spirit of fear, 
and to that of love ; having neither repented, nor be- 
lieved the gospel. 

But suppose there were added to all this a deep con- 
viction of sin, with mUch fear of the wrath of God ; 
vehement desires to cast off every sin, and to fulfil all 
righteousness; frequent rejoicing in hope, and touches 
of love often glancing upon the soul ; yet neither do 
these prove a man to be under yrace, to have true, 
living, Christian faith, unless the Spirit of adoption 
abide in his heart ; unless he can continually cry, 
"Abba, Father!" 

4. Beware, then, thou who art called by the name of 
Christ, that thou come not short cf the mark of thy 
high calling. Beware thou rest not, either in a natural 
state, with too many that are accounted ijood Christians; 
or in a legal state, wherein those who are highly esteemed 
of men are generally content to live and die. Nay, but 
God hath prepared better things for thee, if thou follow 
on till thou attain. Thou art not called to fear and 
tremble, like devils ; but to rejoice and love, like the 
angels of God. " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy mind, and with all thy strength." Thou shalt " re- 
joice evermore;" thou shalt " pray without ceasing;" 
tllou shalt " in every thing give thanks." Thou shalt 
do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven Oh, 
prove thou " what is that good, and acceptable, and 
pei feet will of God !" Now present thyself a " living 
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God." " Whcrcunto thou 
hast already attained, hold fast," by " reaching forth 
unto those things which are before ;" until " the God ol 


peace make thee perfect in every good work, working 
in thee that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through 
Jesus Christ : to whom be glory for ever and eve> I 
Sm?n I" 


Happy soul, who sees the day, 

The glad day of gospel grace ! 
i'hee, my Lord, (thou then wilt say,) 

Thcc will I for ever praise ; 
Though thy wrath against me burn'4, 

Thou dost comfort me again ; 
All thy wrath aside is turn'd, 

Thou hast blotted out my sin. 

Me, behold ! thy mercy spares ; 

Jesus my salvation is ; 
Hence my doubts ; away my fears 

Jesus is become my peace : 
Jah, Jehovah, is «ny Lord, 

Ever merciful and just ; 
I will lean upon his word j 

I will on his promise trust. 

8trong I am, for he is strong; 

Just in righteousness divine : 
He is my triumphal song ; 

All he has, and is, is mine * 
13 L VOL. L w 

104 HYMN [riEB II 

Mine — and yours, whoe'er believe ; 

On his name whoe'er shall call, 
Freely shall his grace receive ; 

He is full of grace for all. 

Therefore shall ye draw with joy 

Water from salvation's well ; 
Praise shall your glad tongues employ 

While his streaming grace ye teel 
Each to each ye then shall say, 

" Sinners, call upon his name ; 
Oh, rejoice to see his day ; 

See it, and his praise proclaim !" 

Glory to his name belongs, 

Great, and marvellous, and high : 
Sing unto the Lord your songs, 

Cry to every nation, cry ! 
Wondrous things the Lord hath d::i 

Excellent his name we find ; 
This to all mankind is known, 

Be it known to all mankind ! 

Sion, shout thy Lord and King, 

Israel's Holy One is He ! 
Give him thanks, rejoice and sing, 

Great is He, and dwells in the* 
Oh, the grace unsearchable ! 

While eternal ages roll, 
Qod delights in man to dwell. 

Soul of each believing soul < 



Ques. 1. (If 1-) Of whom is St. Paul speaking in this text? 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) What is said of the spirit of bondage and 

Ques. 3. (If 3.) Have all mankind possessed even this? 

Ques. 4. (f 4.) What appeal does he make to his hearers? 

Ques. 5. (1f 5.) What is one called in Scripture who has 
neither fear nor love? 

Ques. 6. (I. 1.) What is said of the natural man? 

Ques. 7. (I. 2.) What is his state, being asleep in sin? 

Ques. 8. (I 3.) Does he know himself? 

Ques. 9. (I. 4.) What is said of men of learning? 

Ques. 10. (I. 5.) Does he sometimes have a kind of joy? 

Ques. 11. (I. 6.) What is said of his liberty? 

Ques. 12. (I. 7.) Does he feel condemnation for sin? 

Ques. 13. (I. 8.) What extremes are mentioned in this 

Ques. 14. (II. 1.) How does he become awakened? 

Ques. 15. (II. 2.) What effect does the law of God now 

Ques. 16. (II. 3.) How does he see himself now? 

Ques. 17. (II. 4.) Does he feel himself worthy of condem- 

Ques. 18. (II. 5.) What comes to an end in his experi- 

Ques. 19. (II. 6.) What is said of his wounded spirit? 

Ques. 20. (II. 7.) What effect has this upon his conduct? 

Ques. 21. (II. 8.) What is the result of this struggle? 

Ques. 22. (II. 9.) How does the apostle describe it? Does 



the seventh of Romans describe an awakened but unregen- 
erate man? .4ns. So Mr. Wesley teaches. 

Ques. 23. (III. 1.) How does this bondage end, and when? 

Ques. 24. (III. 2.) What follows when his eyes are opened? 

Ques. 25. (III. 3.) What does he now see? 

Ques. 26. (III. 4.) What consequence is here mentioned? 

Ques. 27. (III. 5.) What is said of his liberty? 

Ques. 28. (III. 6.) What follows the sense of peace with 

Ques. 29. (III. 7.) How and by whom are these results pro- 
duced ? 

Ques. 30. (III. 8.) What summary is here given? 

Ques. 31. (IV 1.) What is said of the threefold state of 

Ques. 32. (IV. 2.) Why do some think too highly of them 

Ques. 33. (IV 3.) What other reason is given? 

Ques. 34. (IV. 4.) How does the sermon conclude? 


The doctrine of the witness of the Spirit may be said in 
a special sense to be peculiar to Methodism. Not because 
it has not been taught in some measure by others, but be- 
cause it has been more fully explained, more thoroughly 
guarded, and more specially emphasized by Methodists than 
by any other Christian teachers. Mr. Wesley proved be- 
yond question that the Christian writers of the third, fourth, 
and fifth centuries taught this doctrine. He quoted the 
works of Origen, Chrysostom, Athanasius, and Augustine, 
and Bernard several hundred years later than Augustine. 
Luther, Melanchthon, and the "Homilies of the Church of 
England" furnished him with abundant proofs. 

But while the main features of this great scriptural truth 
may be found in the works of the early as well as of the 
later theologians, there is a manifest defect in their exposi- 
tions. One cannot fail to observe, in reading them, the ab- 
sence of earnestness of conviction, which results from the 
lack of experimental knowledge of the truth that is ex- 
pounded. As a part of divine revelation, as inseparable 
from the doctrines of the apostles, it is accepted and taught, 
but there is no special emphasis laid upon it as a vital truth. 
In other words, their teaching is speculative rather than 

Mr. Wesley received this doctrine from the Moravians, 
notwithstanding it was contained in the doctrinal standards 
of his own Church. But when his mind was fully awakened 
to its importance he no longer followed the Moravian guides, 



but turned to the Scriptures with that thorough and tireless 
energy which characterized him. There, in the word of God, 
he saw the glorious truth; and in the same volume he found 
those principles which enabled him to defend it, whether as- 
saulted by open foes or corrupted by short-sighted friends. 

lie does not assert that the doctrine of the witness of the 
Spirit is essential to those who are ignorant of this gospel 
privilege, for it is possible that the substance may be en- 
joyed without the recognition of the name of this blessing. 
He does contend, however, that to those to whom the doc- 
trine is clearly and intelligently preached it is essential to 
the development of inward and outward holiness. In his 
own experience, however, as in that of others, he saw the 
necessity of adhering closely to the inspired account of this 
as of all other doctrines of the gospel. The controversies 
into which the advocacy of this truth led him continued 
almost to the end of his life, for the adversaries were nu- 
merous, and fanaticism and enthusiasm gave him as much 
to do as those who stoutly rejected the plain teachings of 
the Bible. 

On one hand it was admitted that a Christian might have 
a reasonable assurance of salvation, but this assurance was the 
product of the human reason only. If a man by self-examina- 
tion could satisfy himself that he was endeavoring to conform 
his mind and habits to the requirements of the word of God, 
charitably construed, they argued that this reasonable convic- 
tion of sincerity, coupled with a moral and harmless life, fully 
met all the demands of Christian hope and all the promises 
contained in the Scriptures. On the other hand, accepting 
the doctrine in all its length and breadth, there were many 
among the Moravians, Count Zinzendorf among them, who 
preached a sinless perfection of the most extreme kind ; and 
finally their teaching ended in Antinomianism of the most 
destructive type. As we shall presently see, Mr. "Wesley 
was compelled to join issue with the latter class of fals« 
teachers, as vigorously contending with them as lie had ear> 


nestly resisted the former, who denied the doctrine of a di- 
vine witness. 

It is not the least of the testimonies to the conservatism 
of Mr. Wesley's theology that he was opposed by extremists 
of all classes. By the formalists he was called an " enthu- 
siast" and by the fanatics a " legalist," so that it is clearly 
to be seen that he was neither the one nor the other; but 
from the subject of experimental knowledge of the forgive- 
ness of sins and of the witness of the Spirit he could not be 
driven by the ridicule of one party nor the extravagance of 
the other. "I am acquainted with more than twelve or 
thirteen hundred persons," he says, "whom I believe to be 
truly pious, and not on slight grounds, and who have sever- 
ally testified to me with their own mouths that they do know 
the day when the love of God was first shed abroad in their 
hearts and when his Spirit first witnessed with their spirits 
that they were the children of God." To his praise be it 
said that he was just as ready to listen to the experience of 
a Kingswood collier or of a London. cobbler as that of a peer 
of the realm or of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He 
knew no man after the flesh wherever the gospel was con- 
cerned; and when the testimony of others corresponded so 
vividly with his own, he did not hesitate to declare what he 
believed and felt to be true. 

The mistakes of enthusiasm on this subject. The mis- 
takes of reason in the opposite direction. 
I. The nature of the witness. 

1. Of our own spirit. It must'not supplant the testimony 
of God's Spirit. Its foundation is laid in the scriptural 
marks of the child of God. Conscience testifies that we 
have these marks. Hence assurance that we are children of 

2. Of God's Spirit. "An inward impression on the soul, 
whereby the Spirit of God directly witnesses to my spirit 


that I am a child of God; that Jesus Christ hath loved me 
and given himself for me; and that all my sins are blotted 
out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God." 

This testimony of God's Spirit precedes that of our own 
spirit. The Spirit of God operates even in the testimony 
of our own spirit. 

The full assurance is as certain as the truth of Scripture 
and the self-evidence of our own conscience, but based upon 
a divine evidence communicated supernaturally. 

II. How can this joint testimony be distinguished from 
the presumption of a natural mind and from the delusion of 
the devil? 

1. By its antecedents, conviction of sin and repentance. 

2. By the accompanying change. The true witness is fol- 
lowed by humility, delusion by pride; the true brings fruits 
of holiness, the false indulges sin. 

3. To conscience rightly disposed the true witness is self- 

4. The consciousness of the fruits in the testimony of our 
own spirit assures us that we have not mistaken the voic* 
of the Divine Spirit. 




" The Spirit iUtlf betirelh witnest with our tpirit, that we are Ihi 
children of Ood." — Rom. viii. 16. 

1. How many vain men, not understanding what they 
spake, neither whereof they affirmed, have wrested this 
scripture to the great loss, if not the destruction, of their 
souls ! How many have mistaken the voice of their own 
imagination for this witness of the Spirit of God, and 
thence idly presumed they were the children of God, 
while they were doing the works of the devil ! Thcsp 
are truly and properly enthusiasts ; and, indeed, in the 
worst sense of the word. But with what difficulty are 
they convinced thereof, especially if they have drunk 
deep into that spirit of error ! All endeavours to bring 
them to the knowledge of themselves, they will then 
account fighting against God ; and that vehemence and 
impetuosity of spirit, which they call "contending earn- 
estly for the faith," sets them so far above all the usual 
methods of conviction, that we may well say, "With 
men it is impossible." 

2 Who then can be surprised, if many reasonable 
men, seeing the dreadful effects of this delusion, and 
labouring to keep at the utmost distance from it, should 
dometimes lean toward another extreme ? — if they are 
not forward to believe any who speak of having this 
witness, concerning which others have so grievously 
erred? — if they are almost ready to set all down foi 
•nthusiasts who use the expressions which have been bo 


terribly abused ? yea, if they should question whether 
the witness or testimony here spoken of be the privilege 
of ordinary Christians, and not, rather, one of those ex- 
traordinary gifts which they suppose belonged only to 
♦he apostolic age ? 

3. But is there any necessity laid upon us of running 
either into one extreme or the other ? May we not steer 
a middle course, — keep a sufficient distance from that 
spirit of error and enthusiasm, without denying the gift 
of God, and giving up the great privilege of his children ? 
Surely we may. In order thereto, let us consider, in 
the presence and fear of God, 

First, What is this witness or testimony of our spirit; 
what is the testimony of God's Spirit ; and, how does 
he " bear witness with our spirit that we are the children 
of God?" 

Secondly, How is this joint testimony of God's Spirit 
and our own, clearly and solidly distinguished from the 
presumption of a natural mind, and from the delusion 
of the devil ? 

I. 1. Let us first consider, what is the witness or tes 
timoDy of our spirit. But here I cannot but desire all 
those who are for swallowing up the testimony of tho 
Spirit of God in the rational testimony of our own spirit, 
to observe, that in this text the apostle is so far from 
speaking of the testimony of our own spirit only, that it 
may be questioned whether he speaks of it at all, — 
whether he docs not speak only of the testimony of God's 
Spirit ? It does not appear but the original text may 
be fairly understood thus. The apostle had just said, 
in the preceding verse, " Ye have received the Spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ;" and immedi- 
ately subjoins, Au*o to rtvtvfia (some copies read, to <m>* 

itvivfia) avju^tapfvpEi fu ftvfVfj-ati rjfiuv, ofitopiv nxva &tov 

which may be translated, " The same Spirit beareth wit- 
ness to our Spirit, that we are the children of God." 
(The preposition aw only denoting, that he witnesses 
this at the same time that he enables us to cry Abb*, 
Father.) But I contend not; seeing so many othei 



texts, with the experience of all real Christians, suffi. 
eiently evince, that there is in every believer, both the 
testimony of God's Spirit, and the testimony of his own, 
that he is a child of God. 

2. With regard to the latter, the foundation thereot 
is laid in those numerous texts of Scripture which de- 
scribe the marks of the children of God ; and that so 
plain, that he which runneth may read them. These 
are also collected together, and placed in the strongest 
light, by many both ancient and modern writeri. If 
any need farther light, he may receive it by attending 
on the ministry of God's word ; by meditating thereon 
before God in secret; and by conversing with those who 
have the knowledge of his ways. And by the reason 
or understanding that God has given him, which religion 
was designed not to extinguish, but to perfect; — accord- 
ing to that of the apostle, " Brethren, be not children in 
understanding: in malice," or wickedness, "be ye chil- 
dren; but in understanding be ye men;" (1 Cor. xiv 
20 ;) — every man, applying those scriptural marks to 
himself, may know whether he is a child of God. Thus, 
if be know, first, " as many as are led by the Spirit of 
God," into all holy tempers and actions, " they are the 
soiis of God ;" (for which he has the infallible assurance 
nf holy writ;) secondly, I am thus "led by the Spirit of 
(ioj ;" he will easily conclude, — " Therefore I am a son 
rf God." 

•5. Agreeable to this are all those plain declarations 
of St. John, in his first Epistle : " Hereby we do know 
that we know him, if we keep his commandments." 
(Chap. ii. 3.) "Whoso keepeth his word, in him ve- 
rily is the love of God perfected : hereby know we that 
we are in him ;" that we are indeed the children of God. 
(Verse 5.) " If ye know that he is righteous, ye know 
that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." 
(Verse 29.) " We know that we have passed from death 
unto life, because we love the brethren." (Chap. iii. 14.) 
•' Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall 
inure our heart* before him ;" (verse 19 ;) namely, be 


lause we " love one another, not in word, neither in 
tongue, but in deed and in truth." " Hereby know wo 
that we dwell in him, because he hath given us of his" 
loving " Spirit." (Chap. iv. 13.) And, " Hereby we know 
that he abideth in us, by the" obedient "Sphit which 
he hath given us." (Chap. iii. 24.) 

4. It is highly probable there never were any children 
of God, from the beginning of the world unto this day, 
wao were farther advanced in the grace of God, and the 
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, than the apostle 
John, at the time when he wrote these words, and the 
fathers in Christ to whom he wrote. Notwithstanding 
which, it is evident, both the apostle himself, and all 
those pillars in God's temple, were very far from despis- 
ing these marks of their being the children of God; and 
that they applied them to their own souls for the confirm- 
ation of their faith. Yet all thi3 is no other than 
rational evidence, the witness of our spirit, our reason or 
understanding. It all resolves into this: Those who 
have these marks are children of God : but we have 
these marks : therefore we are children of God. 

5. But how does it appear, that we have these marks .' 
This is a question which still remains. How does it 
appear, that wc do love God and our neighbour, and 
that we keep his commandments ? Observe, that the 
meaning of the question is, How dons it appear to our- 
selves, not to others? I would ask him, then, that pro- 
poses this question, How does it appear to you, that you 
are alive, and that you are now in ease, and not in pain 1 
Aie you not immediately conscious of it ? By the same 
immediate consciousness, you will know if your soul b 
alive to God; if you are saved from the pain of proud 
wrath, and have the ease of a meek and quiet spirit. 
By the same means you cannot but perceive if you love, 
rejoice, and delight in God. By the same you must be 
lirectly assured if you love your neighbour as yourself; 
if you are kindly affectioned to all mankind, and full of 
gentloDess and long-suffering. And with regard tn th( 
outwurd mark of the children of God, which is, nc-eonl 


jg to St. John, the keeping his commandments, yon 
ndoubtedly know in your own breast, if, by the grace 
f God, it belongs to you. Your conscience informs you 
rom day to day, if you do not take the name of God 
riiMn your lips, unless with seriousness and devotion, 
riih ieverence and godly fear; if you remember the 
labbath-day to keep it holy ; if you honour your father 
nd mother ; if you do to all as you would they should 
o unto you ; if you possess your body in sanctifioation 
nd honour ; and if, whether you eat or drink, you are 
emperate therein, and do all to the glory of God. 

6. Now this is properly the testimony of our own 
pirit; even the testimony of our own conscience, thai 
tod hath given us to be holy of heart, and holy in out- 
rard conversation. It is a consciousness of our having 
eceived, in and by the Spirit of adoption, the tempers 
aentioned in the word of God, as belonging to his adop- 
ed children; even a loving heart toward God, and 
oward all mankind ; hanging with child-like confidence 
m God our Father, desiring nothing but him, casting 
ill our care upon him, and embracing every child of man 
nth earnest, tender affection : — a consciousness that we 
ire inwardly conformed, by the Spirit of God, to the 
mage of his Son, and that we walk before him in jus- 
ice, mercy, and truth, doing the things which are pleas- 
ne in his sight. 

7. But what is that testimony of God's Spirit whioh 
s superadded to, and conjoined with, this ? How does 
le "bear witness with our spirit that we are the children 
)f God 1" It is hard to find words in the language of 
men to explain "the deep things of God." Indeed, 
there are none that will adequately express what the 
ihildren of God experience. But perhaps one might 
say, (desiring any who are taught of God to correct, to 
wften, or strengthen the expression,) the testimony of 
►he Spirit is an inward impression on the soul, whereby 
ihe Spirit of God directly witnesses to my spirit, that J 
to a child of God : that Jesus Christ hath loved me, and 

10 «-» ' 


givan himself for me; and that all my sins arc blotted 
out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God. 

8. That this testimony of the Spirit of God must 
needs, in the very nature of things, be antecedent to the 
testimony of our own spirit, may appear frr.m this single 
oonsideratiou We must be holy of heart, and holyjn 
life, before we can be conscious that we are so; before 
we can have the testimony of our spirit, that we are in- 
wardly and outwardly holy. But we must love God, 
before we can be holy at all ; this being the root of all 
holiness. Now we cannot love God, till we know he 
loves us. " We love him because he first loved us." 
And we cannot know his pardoning love to us, till hi? 
Spirit witnesses it to our spirit. Since, therefore, tliis 
testimony of his Spirit must precede the love of God 
and all holiness, of consequence it must precede our 
inward consciousness thereof, or the testimony of our 
spirit concerning them. 

9. Then, and not till then, — when the Spirit of God 
bearcth that witness to our spirit, " God hath loved thee, 
and given his own Son to be the propitiation foi thy 
sins ; the Son of God hath loved thee, and hath wa,shed 
thee from thy sins in his blood," — " we love God be- 
cause he first loved us;" and, for his sake, we love our 
brother also. And of this we cannot but be conscious 
to ourselves : we " know the things that arc freely given 
to us of God." We know that we love God, and keep 
his commandments; and "hereby also we know th;:; 
we are of God." This is that testimony of our own 
spirit, which, so long as we continue to love God and 
keep his commandments, continues joined with the testi- 
mony of God's Spirit, " that we are the children of God." 

10. Not that I would by any means be understood, 
by any thing which has been spoken concerning it, tr. 
3X< lu<le the operation of the Spirit of God, even fron 
the testimony of our own spirit. In no wise. It is he 
that not only worketh in us every manner of thing that 
is good, but also shines upon his own work, and clearly 
•hows what he has wrought. Accordingly, this is spokcj 


or by Si Paul, as one great end of our receiving the 
Spirit, " that we may know the things which are freely 
given to us of God :" that he may strengthen the testi- 
mony of our conscience, touching our " simplicity and 
godly sincerity ;" and give us to discern, in a fuller and 
stronger light, that we now do the things which please 

11. Should it still be inquired, " How does the Spirit 
of God ' bear witness with our spirit, that we are the 
children of God,' so as to exclude all doubt, and evince 
the reality of our sonship ?" — the answer is clear from 
what has been observed above. And first, as to the 
witness 6f our spirit : The soul as intimately and evi- 
dently perceives when it loves, delights, and rejoices in 
God, as when it loves and delights in any thing on 
earth. And it can no more doubt whether it loves, de- 
lights, and rejoices or no, than whether it exists or no 
If, therefore, this be just reasoning, 

He that now loves God, that delights and rejoices in 
him with an humble joy, a holy delight, and an obe- 
dient love, is a child of God : 

But I thus love, delight, and rejoice in God : 

Therefore, I am a child of God : — 
Then a Christian can in no wise doubt or* his being a 
child of God. Of the former proposition he has as full 
an assurance as he has that the Scriptures are of God ; 
and of his thus loving God, he has an inward proof, 
which is nothing short of self-evidence. Thus, the tes- 
timony of our own spirit is with the most intimate con- 
viction manifested to our hearts, in such a manner as 
bejond all reasonable doubfe to evince the reality of our 

12. The manner how the divine testimony is mani- 
fested to the heart, I do not take upon me to explain 
Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me : 
f cannot attain unto it. The wind bloweth, and I hear 
-ho sound thereof; but I cannot tell how it cometh, ot 
•hither it goeth. As no one knoweth the things of a 
van, save the spirit of a man that is in him ; so the 


manner of the things of God knowcth uo one, save the 
Spirit of God. But the fact we know ; namely, that 
the Spirit of God does give a believer such a testimony 
of his adoption, that while it is present to the soul, he 
can no more doubt the reality of his sonship, than he 
can doubt of the shining of the sun while he stands in 
the full blaze of his beams. 

II. 1. How this joint testimony of God's Spirit and 
our spirit may be clearly and solidly distinguished from 
the presumption of a natural mind, and from the delu- 
sion of the devil, is the next thing to be considered. 
And it highly imports all who desire the salvation of 
God, to consider it with the deepest attention, as they 
would not deceive their own souls. An error in this is 
generally observed to have the most fatal consequences ; 
the rather, because he that errs seldom discovers his 
mistake till it is too late to remedy it. 

2. And, first, how is this testimony to be distinguished 
from the presumption of a natural mind ? It is certain, 
one who was never convinced of siu is always ready to 
flatter himself, and to think of himself, especially in 
spiritual things, more highly than he ought to think. 
And hence, it is in no wise strange, if one who is vainly 
puffed up by his fleshly mind, when he hears of this 
privilege of true Christians, among whom he undoubt- 
edly ranks himself, should soon work himself up into a 
persuasion that he is already possessed thereof. Such 
instances now abound in the world, and have abounded 
in all ages. How, then, may the real testimony of the 
Spirit with our spirit be distinguished from this damning 
presumption ? 

3. I answer, The holy Scriptures abound with marks, 
whereby the one may be distinguished from the other. 
They describe, in the plainest manner, the circumstances 
which go before, which accompany, and whiuh follow 
the true, genuine testimony of the Spirit of God with 
the spirit of a believer. Whoever carefully weighs and 
Attends to these, will not need to put darkness for light 
H o will perceivp so wide a difference, with respect to al 


these, between the real and the pretended witness of the 
Spirit, that there will be no danger, I might say no pos- 
sibility, of confounding the one with the other. 

-I. By these, one who vainly presumes on the gift of 
God might surely know, if he really desired it, that he 
hath been hitherto "given up to a strong delusion,'"' 
and suffered to believe a lie. For the Scriptures lay 
down those clear, obvious marks, as preceding, accom 
panying, and following that gift, which a little reflection 
would convince him, beyond all doubt, were never found 
in his soul. For instance: the Scripture describes re- 
pentance, or conviction of sin, as constantly going before 
this witness of pardon. So, " Repent ; for the kingdom 
of heaven is at hand." (Matt. iii. 2.) "Repent ye, and 
believe the gospel." (Mark i. 15.) " Repent, and be 
baptized, every one of you, for the remission of sins." 
(Acts ii. 38.) " Repent ye therefore, and be converted, 
that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts iii. 19.) In 
conformity whereto, our Church also continually places 
repentance before pardon, or the witness of it. " He 
pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and 
unfeignedly believe his holy gospel." "Almighty God 
— hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them who, with 
hearty repentance and true faith, turn unto him." But 
he is a stranger even to this repentance : he hath never 
known a broken and a contrite heart : " the remembrance 
of his sins" was never " grievous unto him," nor " the 
burden of them intolerable." In repeating those words, 
be never meant what he said ; he merely paid a compli- 
ment to God. And were it only from the want of this 
previous work of God, he hath too great reason to be- 
lieve that he Bath grasped a mere shadow, and nevei 
yet known the real privilege of the sons of God. 

5. Again : the Scriptures describe the being born of 
God, which must precede the witness that we are his 
children, as a vast and mighty change ; a change " from 
darkness to light," as well as " from the power of Satan 
anto God ;" as a " passing from death unto life," a re- 
mrrection from the dead. Thus the apostle to the 
14 VOL. I. M » « " 


Kphi'sians : " You hath he quick ned who wore dead io 
trespasses and sins." (ii. 1.) And again, "When wc 
•were dead in sins, he hath quickened us together with 
Christ; and hath raised us up together, and made ua 
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Verses 
5, 6.) But what knoweth he, concerning whom we now 
speak, of any such change as this ? He is altogethei 
unacquainted with this whole matter. This is a lan- 
guage which he does not understand. He tells you he 
always was a Christian. He knows no time when he 
had need of such a change. By this also, if he give 
himself leave to think, may he know, that he is not born 
of the Spirit ; that he has never yet known God ; but has 
mistaken the voice of nature for the voice of God. 

6. But waiving the consideration of whatever he has 
or has not experienced in time past; by the present 
marks may we easily distinguish a child of God from a 
presumptuous self-deceiver. The Scriptures describe 
that joy in the Lord which accompanies the witness of 
his Spirit, as a humble joy ; a joy that abases to the 
dust, that makes a pardoned sinner cry out, " I am vile ! 
What am I, or my father's house ? Now mine eye secth 
thee, I abhor myself in dust and ashes !" And wherever 
lowliness is, there is meekness, patience, gentleness, 
long-suffering. There is a soft, yielding spirit ; a mild- 
ness and sweetness, a tenderness of soul, which words 
cannot express. But do these fruits attend that supposed 
testimony of the Spirit in a presumptuous man ? Just 
the reverse. The more confident he is of the favour of 
God, the more is he lifted up ; the more does he exalt 
himself; the more haughty and assuming is his whole 
behaviour. The stronger witness he imagines himself 
to have, the more overbearing is he to all around him , 
the more incapable of receiving any reproof; the more 
impatient of contradiction. Instead of being more meek, 
md gentle, and teachable, more " swift to bear, and 
slow to speak," he is more slow to hear and swift to 
speak ; more unready to learn of any one ; more fiery 
tnd vehement in his temper, and eager in his converse 


tion. Yea, perhaps, there will sometimes appear a kind 
of fierceness in his air, his manner of speaking, hii 
whole deportment, as if he were just going to take the 
matter out of God's hands, and himself to " devour the 

7. Once more: the Scriptures teach, "This is the 
love of God," the sure mark thereof, " that we keep his 
commandments." (1 John v. 3.) And our Lord him- 
self saith, " He that keepeth my commandments, he it is 
that loveth me." (John xiv. 21.) Love rejoices to ohcy ; 
to do, in every point, whatever is acceptable to the be- 
loved. A true lover of God hastens to do his will on 
earth as it is done in heaven. But is this the character 
of the presumptuous pretender to the love of God ? Nay, 
but his love gives him a liberty to disobey, to break, 
oot keep, the commandments of God. Perhaps, when 
he was in fear of the wrath of God, he did labour to do 
his will. But now, looking on himself as " not under 
the law," he thinks he is no longer obliged to observe 
it. He is therefore less zealous of good works ; less 
careful to abstain from evil ; less watchful over his own 
heart; less jealous over his tongue. He is less earnest 
to deny himself, and to take up his cross daily. In a 
word, the whole form of his life is changed, since he has 
fancied himself to be at liberty. He is no longer " ex- 
ercising himself unto godliness ;" " wrestling not only 
with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers," 
enduring hardships, " agonizing to enter in at the strait 
gate." No ; he has found an easier way to heaven ; a 
broad, smooth, flowery path ; in which he can say to his 
soul, "Soul, take thy ease; "eat, drink, and be merry." 
It follows, with undeniable evidence, that he has not the 
true testimony of his own spirit. He cannot be con- 
scious of having those marks which he hath not ; that 
lowliness, meekness, and obedience: nor yet can the 
Spirit of the God of truth bear witness to a lie ; or tes- 
tify that he is a child of God, when he is manifestly > 
ibid of the devil. 

8. Discover thyself, thou poor self-deceiver I — thou 


who art. confident of beinj; n cliild of God ; tliou wh( 
gayest, " I have the witness in myself," and therefore 
dcfiest all thy enemies. Thou art weighed in the balance 
and found wanting ; even in the balance of the sanc- 
tuary. The word of the Lord hath tried thy soul, and 
proved thee to be reprobate silver. Thou art not lowly 
of heart ; therefore thou hast not received the Spirit of 
Jesus unto this day. Thou art not gentle and meek ; 
therefore thy joy is nothing worth : it is not joy in the 
Lord. Thou dost not keep his commandments ; there- 
fore thou lovest him not, neither art thou partaker of 
the Holy Ghost. It is consequently as certain and as 
evident as the oracles of God can make it, his Spirit 
doth not bear witness with thy spirit that thou art a 
child of God. Oh, cry unto him, that the scales may fall 
oft' thine eyes ; that thou mayest know thyself as thou 
art known ; that thou mayest receive the sentence of 
death in thyself, till thou hear the voice that raises the 
dead, saying, " Be of good cheer : thy sins are forgiven ; 
thy faith hath made thee whole." 

9 "But how may one who has the real witness id 
himself distinguish it from presumption ?" How, I pray, 
do you distinguish day from night? How do you dis- 
tinguish light from darkness ; or the light of a star, or 
a glimmering taper, from the light of the noonday sun ' 
Is there not an inherent, obvious, essential different'" 
between the one and the other? And do you not im- 
mediately and directly perceive that difference, provided 
your senses are rightly disposed ? In like manner, there 
is an inherent, essential difference between spiritual light 
and spiritual darkness ; and between the light where- 
with the Sun of righteousness shines upon our heart, 
and that glimmering light which arises only from 
M sparks of our own kindling :" and this difference also 
is immediately and directly perceived, if our spiritual 
senses are rightly disposed. 

10. To require a more minute and philosophical ao- 
sount of the manner whereby we distinguish these, and 
»f the criteria, or intrinsic marks, whereby we know 


the voice of God, is to make a demand which can never 
be answered; no, not by one who has the deepest 
knowledge of God. Suppose, when Paul answered be- 
fore Agrippa, the wise Roman had said, " Thou talkest 
of hearing the voice of the Son of God. How dost 
thou know it was his voice ? By what criteria, what 
intrinsic marks, dost thou know the voice of God? 
Explain to me the manner of distinguishing this from a 
human or ingelic voice ?" Can you believe, the apostle 
himself would have once attempted to answer so idle a 
demand? And yet, doubtless, the moment he heard 
that voice, he knew it was the voice of God. But how 
he knew this, who is able to explain ? Perhaps neither 
man nor angel. 

11. To come yet closer : suppose God were now to 
speak to any soul, " Thy sins are forgiven thee," — he 
must be willing that soul should know his voice ; other- 
wise he would speak in vain. And he is able to effect 
this ; for, whenever he wills, to do is present with him. 
And he does effect it : that soul is absolutely assured, 
" This voice is the voice of God." But yet he who hath 
that witness in himself cannot explain it to one who 
hath it not : nor indeed is it to be expected that he 
should. Were there any natural medium to prove, or 
natural method to explain, the things of God to unex- 
perienced men, then the natural man might discern and 
know the things of the Spirit of God. But this is ut- 
terly contrary to the assertion of the apostle, that " he 
cannot know them, because they are spiritually dis- 
cerned;" even by spiritual senses, which the natural 
man hath not. 

12. " But how shall I know that my spiritual senses 
are rightly disposed ?" This also is a question of vast 
importance ; for if a man mistake in this, he may run 
on in endless error and delusion. " And how am I as- 
sured that this is not my case j and that I do not mis- 
take the voice of the Spirit ?" Even by the testimony 
of your own spirit : by " the answer of a good conscience 
toward God." By the fruits which he hath wrougbi 


in your spirit, you shall know the testimony of the 
Spirit of God. Hereby you shall know, that you are in 
no delusion ; that you have not deceived your own soul. 
The immediate fruits of the Spirit, ruling in the heart, 
are " love, joy, peace, bowels of mercies, humbleness of. 
oiind, meekness, gentleness, long-suffering." And the 
outward fruits are, the doing good to all men ; the dcing 
no evil to any ; and the walking in the light, — a zeal- 
ous, uniform obedience to all the commandments of God. 

13. By the same fruits shall you distinguish this 
voice of God from any delusion of the devil. That 
proud spirit cannot humble thee before God. He 
neither can nor would soften thy heart, and melt it first 
into earnest mourning after God, and then into filial 
love. It is not the adversary of God and man that ena- 
bles thee to love thy neighbour ; or to put on meek- 
ness, gentleness, patience, temperance, and the whole 
armour of God. He is not divided against himself, or 
a destroyer of sin, his own work. No j it is none but 
the Son of God who cometh " to destroy the works of 
the devil." As surely therefore as holiness is of God, 
and as sin is the work of the devil, so surely the wit- 
ness thou hast in thyself is not of Satan, but of God. 

14. Well then mayest thou say, "Thanks be unto 

God for his unspeakable gift !" Thanks be unto God, 

who giveth me to " know in whom I have believed ;" 

who hath " sent forth the Spirit of his Son into my 

heart, crying, Abba, Father," and even now, "bearing 

witness with my spirit that I am a child of God I" And 

see, that not only thy lips, but thy life, show forth his 

praise. He hath sealed thee for his own : glorify hiro 

then in thy body and thy spirit, which are his. Beloved, 

if thou hast this hope in thyself, purify thyself as he ia 

pure. While thou beholdest what manner of love the 

Father hath given thee, that thou shouldest be called a 

child of God, cleanse thyself " from all filthiness of 

flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God ;" 

*nd let all thy thoughts, words, and works be a spiritual 

sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God through Christ Jemu ' 


ijues. 1. (If 1.) How has the text been misconstrued? 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) What effect has this produced? 

Ques. 3. (If 3.) Is either extreme necessary? 

Ques. 4. (If 3.) What does he propose to consider? 

Ques. 5. (I. 1.) What is first considered? 

Ques. 6. (I. 2.) What is the foundation of the testimony 
of our own spirit? 

Ques. 7. (I. 3.) What proofs* are cited from St. John? 

Ques. 8. (I. 4.) What does he say of the gracious expe- 
rience of this apostle? 

Ques. 9. (I. 5.) How is love to God and our neighbor 

Ques. 10. (I. 6.) Is this the testimony of conscience? 

Ques. 11. (1. 7.) How does he define the testimony of God's 

Ques. 12. (I. 8.) Does it precede or follow our own testi- 

Ques. 13. (I. 9.) What does the Spirit of God testify? 

Ques. 14. (1. 10.) Is this testimony excluded from our own? 

Ques. 15. (1. 11.) What is further said of the divine wit" 

Ques. 16. (1. 11.) State the syllogism here given. 

Ques. 17. (I. 12.) Does he explain the manner of the di- 
vine witness? 

Ques. 18. (II. 1.) How is this joint testimony distin- 

Ques. 19. (II. 2.) How is it distinguished from presump- 



Ques. 20. (II. 3.) Are the marks to be found in Scripture? 

Ques. 21. (II. 4.) How may vain presumption be detected? 

Ques. 22. (II. 5.) What do the Scriptures say of the new 

Ques. 23. (II. 6.) How is a child of God distinguished 
from a self-deceiver? 

Ques. 24. (II. 7.) What is further said upon this point? 

Ques. 25. (II. 8.) How is the self-deceiver addressed? 

Ques. 26. (II. 9.J What is the argument here from con- 

Ques. 27. (II. 10.) Should we require more than this? 
les. 28. (II. 11.) How is the argument continued? 

Ques. 29. (II. 12.) What other question of vast impor- 

nee is considered? 

Ques. 30. (II. 13.) How can we tell this voice of God? 

~^ues. 31. (II. 14.) How does the discourse conclude? 


"One of the most difficult points in the definition of the 
direct witness," says Burwash, "is the distinction between 
the act of faith and the witness. Mr. Wesley held that faith 
had in itself something of the divine assurance. All his 
definitions of faith given in the preceding sermons imply 
this. Yet he admits in one of his controversial letters that 
'a conviction that we are justified cannot be implied in jus- 
tifying faith.' Perhaps his clearest statement on this point 
is to be found in the doctrinal minutes already quoted : 'A 
sinner is convinced by the Holy Ghost — " Christ loved me, 
and gave himself for me." This is that faith by which he is 
justified, or pardoned, the moment he receives it. Immedi- 
ately the same Spirit bears witness, "Thou art pardoned; 
thou hast redemption in his blood." And this is saving 
faith whereby the love of God is shed abroad in his heart.' 
From this and other like passages we may deduce the fol- 
lowing summary: 

"1. Faith has in it divine assurance, and all assurance 
springs from God-given faith. 

"2. Justifying faith is a personal divine assurance of the 
provision of salvation in Christ for me. 

"3. The witness is personal divine assurance of the pos- 
session of that salvation by me. 

"4. Abiding saving faith grows out of and includes the 
witness, as the justifying act of faith preceded it." 

It will be perceived from If 2 (I. 2) that this sermon was 
written twenty years after Sermon X.; and as this (XI.) 



bears the date 1767, the preceding discourse was written in 
1747. (See Ques. 6, Sermon XI.) 


I. The importance of the doctrine. Danger of enthusi- 
asm and formality. The peculiar testimony of Methodism. 

II. What is the witness of the Spirit? A testimony given 
by the Spirit to the fact of our sonship, followed by the 
fruits. Definition repeated, with addition of the word im- 

Not by an outward voice, nor always by an inward voice, 
nor always by a passage of Scripture, but in his own way 
producing clear satisfaction that God is reconciled. 

All are agreed that there is a witness, that there is an 
indirect witness, and that the witness is never without the 
fruits. But some question whether there be a direct witness 
of the Spirit. 

III. Proof that there is a direct witness. 

1. From the plain sense of the Scripture (Rom. viii. 16, 
and also 15; Gal. iv. 6). 

2. From the necessity of the case. 

3. From the experience of God's children. 
IV Objections. 

1. To the proof from experience. A. This only confirms 
Scripture. At times the only means of assurance. 

2. It does not prove the genuineness of our profession. A. 
It is not given to assure others, but ourselves, and precedes 
all profession. 

3. The "Holy Spirit" and "good gifts" are identical. A. 
This is irrelevant. 

4. The scripture refers to the fruits, etc. A. Certainly; 
but does not deny direct witness. 

5. It does not secure us from delusion. A. The combined 
testimony does. 

6. It is not unnecessary. 

7. False professors should not discredit it. 
V. Summary. Two practical inferences. 




1 The Spirit itself beareth witness with out spirit, that we ore tk, 
children of Qod." — Rom. viii. 16. 

1. 1. None who believe the Scriptures to be the 
word of God can doubt the importance of such a truth 
as this; — a truth revealed therein, not once only, not 
obscurely, not incidentally ; but frequently, and that in 
express terms; but solemnly and of set purpose, as 
denoting one of the peculiar privileges of the children 
of God. 

2. And it is the more necessary to explain and de- 
fend this truth, because there is a danger on the right 
hand and on the left. If we deny it, there is a danger 
lest our religion degenerate into mere formality ; lest, 
having " a form of godliness," we neglect, if not " deny, 
the power of it." If we allow it, but do not under- 
stand what we allow, we are liable to run into all the 
wildness of enthusiasm. It is therefore needful, in the 
highest degree, to guard those who fear God from both 
these dangers, by a scriptural and rational illustration 
ind confirmation of this momentous truth. 

3. It may seem, something of this kind is the more 
needful because so little has been wrote on the subject, 
with any clearness J unless some discourses on the 
wrong side of the question, which explain it quite away. 
And it cannot be doubted, but these were occasioned, at 
feast in a great measure, by the crude, unsOripturaL 
irrational explication of others, who "Vnew not what 
they spake, nor whereof they affirmed. 


4 . It more nearly concerns the Methodists, so called, 
clearly to understand, explain, and defend this doo 
trine ; because it is one grand part of the testimony 
which God has given them to hear to all mankind. It 
is by his peculiar blessing upon tnem in searching the 
Scriptures, confirmed by the experience of his children, 
that this great evangelical truth has been recovered, 
which had been for many years wellnigh lost and for- 

II. 1. But what is the witness of the Spirit ? The ori- 
ginal word, paptvpta, may be rendered either (as it u 
in several places) the witness, or, less ambiguously, tht 
testimony or the record : so it is rendered in our trans- 
lation, 1 John v. 11, "This is the record," the testi- 
mony, the sum of what God testifies in all the inspired 
writings, " that God hath given unto us eternal life, and 
this hfe is in his Son." The testimony now under con- 
sideration is given by the Spirit of God to and with our 
spirit ; he is the person testifying. What he testifies to 
us is, " that we are the children of God." The imme- 
diate result of this testimony is, " the fruit of the 
Spirit;" namely, "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gen- 
tleness, goodness :" and without these, the testimony 
itself cannot continue. For it is inevitably destroyed, 
not only by the commission of any outward sin, or the 
omission of known duty, but by giving way to any in- 
ward sin ; in a word, by whatever grieves the Holy 
Spirit of God. 

2. T observed many years ago, " It is hard to find 
words in the language of men, to explain the deep 
things of God. Indeed, there are none that will ade- 
quately express what the Spirit of God works in his 
children. But perhaps one might say, (desiring any 
who are taught of God, to correct, soften, or strengthen 
the expression,) by the testimony of the Spirit, I mean, 
an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit 
of God immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit, 
that I am a child of God ; that Jesus Christ hath lovoJ 



mo, and given himself for me; that all my sins art 
blotted out, and I, even I am reconciled to God." 

3 After twenty years' farther consideration, I see no' 
cause to retract any part of this. Neither do I conceive 
how any of these expressions may be altered, so as to 
make them more intelligible. I can only add, that if 
any of the children of God will point out any other ex- 
pressions which are more clear, or more agreeable to the 
word of God, I will readily lay these aside. 

4. Meantime, let it be observed, I do not mean here- 
by, that the Spirit of God testifies this by any outward 
voice ; no, nor always by an inward voice, although he 
may do this sometimes. Neither do I suppose, that he 
always applies to the heart (though he often may) one 
or more texts of Scripture. But he so works upon the 
soul by his immediate influence, and by a strong though 
inexplicable operation, that the stormy wind and trou- 
bled waves subside, and there is a sweet calm; the 
heart resting as in the arms of Jesus, and the sinner 
being clearly satisfied that God is reconciled, that all his 
" iniquities are forgiven, and his sins covered." 

ft. Now what is the matter of dispute concerning 
this '! Not whether there be a witness or testimony of 
the Spirit. Not whether the Spirit does testify with 
our spirit that we are the children of God. None cat 
'leny this, without flatly contradicting the Scriptures, 
and charging a lie upon the God of truth. Therefore, 
that there is a testimony of the Spirit is acknowledged 
by all parties 

6. Neither is it questioned, whether there is an in- 

tirrnt witness, or testimony, 'that we are the children of 

God. This is nearly, if not exactly, the same with the 

testimony of a pnod conscience towards God; and is 

the result of reason, or reflection on what we feel in 

our own souls. Strictly speaking, it is a conclusion 

drawn partly from the word of God, and partly from 

our own experience. The word of God says, every 

one who has the fruit of the Spirit is a child of God : 

experience, or inward consciousness, tells me, that J 
l-o » 


have tac fruit of the Spirit; and hence I rationally 
conclude, " Therefore I am a child of God." This i* 
likewise allowed on all hands, and so is no matter of 

7 Nor do we assert, that there can be any real testi- 
mony of the Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit. We 
assert, on the contrary, that the fruit of the Spirit 
immediately springs from this testimony; not always 
indeed in the same degree, even when the testimony is 
first given ; and much less afterwards. Neither joy 
nor peace is always at one stay; no, nor love; as 
neither is the testimony itself always equally strong and 

8. But the point in question is, whether there be any 
direct testimony of the Spirit at all ; whether there be 
any other testimony of the Spirit than that which arises 
from a consciousness of the fruit. 

III. 1. I believe there is; because that is the plain, 
natural meaning of the text, " The Spirit itself bearetb 
witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 
It is manifest, here are two witnesses mentioned, who 
together testify the same thing; the Spirit of God, and 
our own spirit. The late Bishop of London, in his 
sermon on this text, seems astonished that any one can 
doubt of this, which appears upon the very face of the 
words. Now, " The testimony of our own spirit," says 
the bishop, " is one, which is the consciousness of our 
owd sincerity;" or, to express the same thing a little 
moio clearly, the consciousness of the fruit of the 
Spirit. When our spirit is conscious of this, of love, 
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, it easily 
infers from these premise? that wc are the children of God. 

2. It is true, that great man supposes the other wit- 
ness to be, " the consciousness of our own good works." 
ITiis, he affirms, is the testimony of God's Spirit. But 
this is included in the testimony of our own spirit ; yea, 
»nd in sincerity, even according to the common sense of 
the word. So the apostle, " Our rejoicing is this, th« 
testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and g *U.l 


sincerity we have had our conversation in the world :'' 
where, it is plain, sincerity refers to our words and 
actions at least as much as to our inward dispositions. 
So that this is not another witness, but the very same 
(■hat he mentioned before ; the consciousness of our good 
works being only one branch of the consciousness of 
our sincerity. Consequently here is only one witness 
still. If, therefore, the text speaks of two witnesses, 
one of these is not the consciousness of our good works, 
neither of our sincerity ; all this being manifestly con- 
tained in the testimony of our spirit. 

3. What then is the other witness ? This might easily 
be learned, if the text itself were not sufficiently clear, 
from the verse immediately preceding : "Ye have 
received, not the spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of 
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." It follows 
" The Spirit itself bcareth witness with our spirit, that 
we are the children of God." 

4. This is farther explained by the parallel text, 
(Gal. iv. 6,) " Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth 
the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father." Is not this something immediate and direct, 
not the result of reflection or argumentation ? Does 
not the Spirit cry, " Abba, Father," in our hearts, the 
moment it is given, antecedently to any reflection upon 
our sincerity ; yea, to any reasoning whatsoever ? And 
is not this the plain, natural sense of the words, which 
strikes any one as soon as he hears them ? All these 
texts then, in their most obvious meaning, describe a 
direct testimony of the Spirit. 

5. That the testimony of the Spirit of God must, in 
the very nature of things, be antecedent to the testi- 
mony of our own spirit, may appear from this single 
consideration : we must be holy in heart and life before 
we can be conscious that we are so. But we must love 
God before we can be holy at all, this being the root 
of all holiness. Now, we cannot love God, till we 
know he loves us : " We love him, because he nret 
wed us." And we cannot know his love to us, till hv 


Spirit witnesses it to our spirit. Till then we cannot 
believe it j we cannot say, " The life which I now live, 
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and 
gave himself for me." 

"Then, only then we feel 
Onr interest in his blood, 
And cry, with joy unspeakable, 
Thou art my Lord, my God !" 

Since, therefore, the testimony of his Spirit must pie- 
sede the love of God, and all holiness, of consequence 
it must precede our consciousness thereof. 

6. And here properly comes in, to confirm this scrip- 
tural doctrine, the experience of the children of God ; 
the experience not of two or three, not of a few, but 
of a great multitude, which no man can number. It 
has been confirmed, both in this and in all ages, by 
" a cloud" of living and dying " witnesses." It is 
confirmed by your experience and mine. The Spirit 
itself bore witness to my spirit, that I was a child of 
God, gave me an evidence hereof; and I immediately 
cried, " Abba, Father !" And this I did (and so did 
you) before I reflected on, or was conscious of, any 
fruit of the Spirit. It was from this testimony received, 
that love, joy, peace, and the whole fruit of the Spirit 
flowed. First, I heard, 

" Thy sins are forgiven ! Accepted thou art ! — 
I listen'd, and heaven sprang up in my heart" 

7. But this is confirmed, not only by the experience 
of the children of God, — thousands of whom can de- 
clare that they never did know themselves to be in the 
favour of God till it was directly witnessed to them by 
his Spirit, — but by all those who are convinced of sin, 
who feel the wrath of God abiding on them. These 
cannot be satisfied with any thing less than a direct 
testimony from his Spirit, that he is " merciful to their 
anrighteousness, and remembers their sins and iniqii 
ties no more." Tell any of these, " You are to know 
you are a child, by reflecting on what be has wrougbi 


ia you, on your love, joy, and peace ;" and will he not 
immediately reply, " By all this I know I am a child of 
the devil ? I have no more love to God than the devil 
has ; my carnal mind is enmity against God. I have 
no joy in the Holy Ghost ; my soul is sorrowful even 
into death. I have no peace ; my heart is a troubled 
&e»; I am all storm and tempest." And which way 
can these souls possibly be comforted, but by a divine 
testimony (not that they are good, or sincere, or con- 
formable to the Scripture in heart and life, but) that God 
justifieth the ungodly ? — him that, till the moment he is 
justified, is all ungodly, void of all true holiness ; " him 
that worketh not," that worketh nothing that is truly 
good, till he is conscious that he is accepted, not for any 
" works of righteousness which he hath done," but by 
the mere free mercy of God; wholly and solely for 
what the Son of God hath done and suffered for him 
And can it be any otherwise, if " a man is justified by 
faith, without the works of the law ?" If so, what in- 
ward or outward goodness can he be conscious of, ante 
cedent to his justification ? Nay, is not the having 
nothing to pay, that is, the being conscious that " there 
dwelleth in us no good thing," neither inward nor out- 
ward goodness, essentially, indispensably necessary, 
before we can be "justified freely, through the redemption 
that is in Jesus Christ?" Was ever any man justified 
since his coming into the world, or can any man ever be 
justified till he is brought to that point, — 

" I give up every plea beside, — 
Lord, I am damn'd ; but Thou hast died V 

8. Every one, therefore,* who denies the existence of 
such a testimony, does in effect deny justification by 
faith. It follows, that either he never experienced this, 
either he never was justified, or that he has forgotten, as 
St. Peter speaks, too xadapiafiov tuv itaXai avtov ajuap- 
tum, the purification from his former sins ; the experi- 
ence he then had himself; the manner wherein God 
wrought in his own soul, when his former sins wer* 

blotted out. xr 

jg il vol. I. o a JN 


9. And the experience even of the children of the 
world here confirms that of the children of God. Man} 
of these have a desire to please God : some of them take 
much pains to please him ; but do they not, one and all,' 
count it the highest absurdity for any to talk of know- 
ing his sins are forgiven ? Which of them even pretends 
to any such thing ? And yet many of them are oon- 
Boious of their own sincerity. Many of them undoubtedly 
have, in a degree, the testimony of their own spirit, a 
consciousness of their own uprightness. But this brings 
them no consciousness that they are forgiven; no 
knowledge that they are the children of God. Yea, the 
more sincere they are, the more uneasy they generally 
are, for want of knowing it ; plainly showing that this 
cannot be known, in a satisfactory manner, by the bare 
testimony of our own spirit, without God's directly tes- 
tifying that we are his children. 

TV Hut abundance of objections have been made to 
this ; the chief of which it may be well to consider. 

1. It is objected, first, " Experience is not sufficient 
to prove a doctrine which is not founded on Scripture." 
This is undoubtedly true ; and it is an important 
truth : but it does not affect the present question ; for 
it has been shown, that this doctrine is founded on 
Scripture ; therefore experience is properly alleged to 
confirm it. 

2. " But madmen, French prophets, and enthusiasts 
of every kind, have imagined they experienced this 
witness." They have so ; and perhaps not a few of 
them did, although they did not retain it long : but if 
they did not, this is no proof at all that others have 
not experienced it; as a madman's imagining himself a 
king, does not prove that there are no real kings. 

" Nay, many who pleaded strongly for this, have ut 
terly decried the Bible." Perhaps so ; but this was no 
necessary consequence : thousands plead for it who have 
tho highest esteem for the Bible. 

" Yea, but many have fatally deceived themaelret 
k ereby, and got above all conviction " 


And yet a scriptural doctrine is no worse, though men 
abuse it to their own destruction. 

3. " But I lay it down as an undoubted truth, The 
fruit of the Spirit is the witness of the Spirit." Not 
undoubted; thousands doubt of, yea, flatly deny it: 
out let that pass. " If this witness be sufficient, there 
g no need of any other. But it is sufficient, unless in 
jne of these cases, 1. The total absence of the fruit of the 
Spirit." And this is the case, when the direct witness 
is first given. 2. " The not perceiving it. But to con- 
tend for it in this case, is to contend for being in the 
fivour of God, and not knowing it." True ; not know- 
ii i$ it at that time any otherwise than by the testimony 
wuich is given for that end. And this we do contend 
for : we contend that the direct witness may shine clear, 
even while the indirect one is under a cloud. 

4. It is objected, secondly, " The design of the wit- 
ness contended for is, to prove that the profession we 
make is genuine. But it does not prove this." I an- 
swer, The proving this is not the design of it. It is ante- 
cedent to our making any profession at all, but that of 
being lost, undone, guilty, helpless sinners. It is de- 
signed to assure those to whom it is given, that they are 
the chiWren of God; that they are "justified freely by 
his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus 
Christ." And this does not suppose that their preced- 
ing thoughts, words, and actions are conformable to the 
rule of Scripture : it supposes quite the reverse ; namely, 
that they are sinners all over; sinners both in heart 
and life. Were it otherwise, God would justify th* 
godly ; and their own works would be counted to them 
for righteousness. And I cannot but fear that a sup- 
position of our being justified by works is at the root of 
all these objections ; for, whoever cordially believes thai 
God imputes to all that are justified righteousness with- 
out works, will find no difficulty in allowing the witness 
of his Spirit, preceding the fruit of it. 

5. It is objected, thirdly, " One evangelist says, 
'Your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit te 


them that ask him.' The other evangelist calls the 
game thing, ' good gifts ;' abundantly demonstrating 
that the Spirit's way of bearing witness is by giving 
£«xd gifts." Nay, here is nothing at all about bearing 
uritness, either in the one text or the other. Therefore, 
till this demonstration is better demonstrated, I let it 
stand as it is. 

6. It is objected, fourthly, "The Scripture says, 
'The tree is known by its fruits. Prove all things. 
Try the spirits. Examine yourselves.'" Most true. 
Therefore, let every man who believes he "hath the 
witness in himself," try whether it be of God : if the 
fruit follow, it is; otherwise it is not. For certainly 
" the tree is known by its fruit :" hereby we prove if it 
be " of God." 

" But the direct witness is never referred to in the 
book of God." Not as standing alone ; not as a single 
witness; but as connected with the other; as giving a 
joint testimony ; testifying with our spirit, that we are 
children of God. And who is able to prove that it is 
not thus referred to in this very scripture ? " Examine 
yourselves whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own- 
selves. Know ye not your ownselves, that Jesus Christ 
is in you ?" It is by no means clear, that they did not 
know this by a direct as well as a remote witness. How 
is it proved that they did not know it, first, by an in 
ward consciousness; and then, by love, joy, and peace? 

7 " But the testimony arising from the internal and 
external change is constantly referred to in the Bible." 
It is so : and we constantly refer thereto, to confirm the 
testimony of the Spirit. 

"Nay, all the marks you have given, whereby to dis- 
tinguish the operations of God's Spirit from delusion, 
refer to the change wrought in us and upon us." This, 
likewise, is undoubtedly true. 

8. It is objected, fifthly, that " the direct witness of 
the Spirit does not secure us from the greatest delusion. 
And is that a witness fit to be trusted, whose testimony 
»Dnot be depended on ? that is forced to fly to some 


thing else, to prove what it asserts ?" I answer : Tc 
Becure us from all delusion, God gives us two witnesses 
that we are his children. And this they testify con- 
jointly. Therefore, "what God hath joined together, 
let no man put asunder." And while they are joined, 
we cannot be deluded ; their testimony can be depended 
on. They are fit to be trusted in the highest degree, 
and need nothing else to prove what they assert. 

" Nay, the direct witness only asserts, but does not 
prove, any thing." By two witnesses shall every word 
be established. And when the Spirit witnesses with oui 
spirit, as God designs it to do, then it fully proves thai 
we are children of God. 

9. It is objected, sixthly, "You own the change 
wrought is a sufficient testimony, unless in the case of 
severe trials, such as that of our Saviour upon the cross; 
but none of us can be tried in that manner." But you 
or I may be tried in such a manner, and so may any 
other child of God, that it will be impossible for us to 
keep our filial confidence in God without the direct wit- 
ness of his Spirit. 

10. It is objected, lastly, "The greatest contenders 
for it are some of the proudest and most uncharitable of 
men." Perhaps some of the hottest contenders for it are 
both proud and uncharitable ; but many of the firmest 
contenders for it are eminently meek and lowly in heart; 
and, indeed, in all other respects also, 

" True followers of their lamb-like Lord." 

The preceding objections are the most considerable 
that I have heard, and I believe contain the strength of 
the cause. Yet I apprehend whoever calmly and impar- 
tially considers those objections and the answers to 
gether, will easily see that they do not destroy, no, noi 
weaken, the evidence of that great truth, that the Spirit 
of God docs directly, as well as indirectly, testify that we 
we children of God 

V 1. Th-} sum of all is this • The testimony of the 
Soirit in an inward impression on the soulp of believen 


whereby the Spirit of God directly testifies to then 
spirit, that they are children of God. And it is not 
questioned, whether there is a testimony of the Spirit ; 
but whether there is any direct testimony ; whether there 
is any other than that which arises from a consciousness 
of the fruit of the Spirit. We believe there is ; because 
this is the plain natural meaning of the text, illustrated 
both by the preceding words, and by the parallel pas- 
sage in the Epistle to the Galatians ; because, in the 
nature of the thing, the testimony must precede the fruit 
which springs from it; and because this plain meaning 
of the word of God is confirmed by the experience of 
innumerable children of God ; yea, and by the experi- 
ence of all who are convinced of sin, who can never 
rest till they have a direct witness ; and even of the 
children of the world, who, not having the witness in 
themselves, one and all declare, none can know his sins 

2 And whereas it is objected, that experience is not 
sufficient to prove a doctrine unsupported by Scripture ; 
— that madmen and enthusiasts of every kind have 
imagined such a witness ; — that the design of that wit- 
ness is to prove our profession genuine, which design it 
dors not answer; — that the Scripture says, "The tree 
is known by its fruit;" "Examine yourselves; prove 
year ownselves;" and, meantime, the direct witness is 
never referred to in all the book of God ; — that it does 
not secure us from the greatest delusions ; and, lastly, 
that the change wrought in us is a sufficient testimony, 
unless in such trials as Christ alone suffered : — we an- 
swer, — 1. Experience is sufficient to confirm a doctrine 
which is grounded on Scripture. 2. Though many fancy 
they experience what they do not, this is no prejudice 
to real experience. 3. The design of that witness is to 
assure us we are children of God ; and this design it 
does answer. 4. The true witness of the Spirit is known 
by its fruit, ^'love, peace, joy ;" not indeed preceding, 
but following it. 5. It cannot be proved, that the direct 
u well as the indirect witness is not referred to in th»» 



very text, " Know ye not your ownselves, that Jesui 
Christ is in you V 6. The Spirit of God, witnessing 
trith our spirit, does secure us from all delusion. And, 
lastly, we are all liable to trials, wherein the testimony 
of our own spirit is not sufficient; wherein nothing less 
than the direct testimony of God's Spirit can assure us 
that we arc his children. 

8. Two inferences may be drawn from the whole. 
The first. Let none ever presume to rest in any supposed 
testimony of the Spirit, which is separate from the fruit 
of it. If the Spirit of God does really testify that we 
arc children of God, the immediate cod sequence will be 
the fruit of the Spirit, even " love, joy, peace, long-suf- 
fering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temper- 
ance." And however this fruit may be clouded for a 
while, during the time of strong temptation, so that it 
docs not appear to the tempted person, while Satan is 
sifting him as wheat; yet the substantial part of it re- 
mains, even under the thickest cloud. It is true, joy in 
the Holy Ghost may be withdrawn, during the hour of 
trial ; yea, the soul may be " exceeding sorrowful," while 
" the hour and power of darkness" continue ; but even 
this is generally restored with increase, till we rejoice 
" with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 

4. The second inference is, Let none rest in any sup- 
posed fruit of the Spirit without the witness. There 
may be foretastes of joy, of peace, of love, and those not 
delusive, but really from God, long before we have the 
witness in ourselves ; before the Spirit of God witnesses 
with our spirits that we have " redemption in the blood 
of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins." Yea, there may 
be a degree of long-suffering, of gentleness, of fidelity, 
meekness, temperance, (not a shadow thereof, but a real 
degree, by the preventing grace of God,) before we " are 
accepted in the Beloved," and consequently, before we 
have a testimony of our acceptance : but it is by no means 
advisable to rest here ; it is at the peril of our souls if 
we do. If we are wise, we shall be continually crying 
50 God, until his Spirit cry in our heart, "Abba, 


Father !" This is the privilege of all the children of 
God ; and without this we can never be assured that we 
are his children. Without this we cannot retain a steady 
peace, nor avoid perplexing doubts and fears. But 
when we have once received this Spirit of adoption, this 
"peace which passeth all understanding," and which 
expels all painful doubt and fear, will " keep our hearts 
and minds in Christ Jesus." And when this has 
brought forth its genuine fruit, all inward and outward 
holiness, it is undoubtedly the will of Him that calleth 
us, to give us always what he has once given ; so that 
there is no need that we should ever more be deprived 
of either the testimony of God's Spirit, or the testimony 
of our own, the consciousness of our walking in all 
righteousness and true holiness. 

Sbwbt, April 4, lTtt . 


Ques. 1. (I. 1.) What is said of the doctrine of the text? 

Ques. 2. (I. 2.) Why was it necessary to explain and de- 
fend it? 

Ques. 3. (I. 3.) Why was it the more needful? 

Ques. 4. (I. 4.) Whom does it more nearly concern? 

Ques. 5. (II. 1.) What is the meaning of the Greek word? 

Ques. 6. (II. 2.) What sermon does he quote here? Ans. 
Sermon X., the preceding discourse in this series — I. 7. 

Ques. 7. (II. 3.) After twenty years' consideration, what 
does he say? 

Ques. 8. (II. 4.) What does he say of an outward and in- 
ward voice? 

Ques. 9. (II. 5.) Are all parties agreed as to the existence 
of the witness of the Spirit? 

Ques. 10. (II. 6.) What does he say of the indirect wit- 

Ques. 11. (II. 7.) Is the witness separated from the fruit? 

Ques. 12. (II. 8.) What, then, is the point in question? 

Ques. 13. (III. 1.) What is the plain, natural meaning of 
the text? 

Ques. 14. (III. 2.) What does the Bishop of London say 
of it? 

Ques. 15. (III. 3.) What is the other witness? 

Ques. 16. (III. 4.) How is this further explained? 

Ques. 17. (III. 5.) Is this divine testimony antecedent to 
our own? 

Ques. 18. (III. 6.) How is this view confirmed? 

Ques. 19. (III. 7.) How is it further confirmed? 
5 233 


Ques. 20. (III. 8.) What consequence follows a denial of 
this doctrine? 

Ques. 21. (III. 9.) How does the experience of the chil- 
dren of the world confirm this doctrine? 

Ques. 22. (IV 1.) What is the first objection? 

Ques. 2."». (IV 2.) What is the next? 

Ques. 24. (IV ;!.) What further objection is presented? 

Ques. 25. (IV 4.) What objection is here stated? 

Ques. 26. (IV 5.) How are the evangelists quoted? 

Ques. 27. (IV. 6.) What arguments are here objected? 

Ques. 28. (IV 7.) What does he here grant to the ob- 

Ques. 29. (IV 8.) How are we secured from delusion? 

Ques. 80. (IV 9.) How does he answer the sixth objec- 
tion ? 

Ques. 31. (IV- 10.) How does he answer the last? 

Ques. 32. (V 1.) What is the sum of ;ill this? 

Ques 33. (V 2.) State the argument in this paragraph. 

Ques. 34. (V 3.) What two inferences are drawn from the 

Ques. 35. (V 4.) How does the sermon conclude? 


" This sermon," says Prof. Burwash, " was originally the 
supplement to the tenth, the eleventh having been inter- 
posed in 1771. It presents before us the continuous state 
of assurance which arises out of the initial experience of 
assurance there described. The first assurance is conditioned 
upon faith only; this upon the conscious obedience which 
faith enables us to render. Mr. Wesley grounds this assur- 
ance upon the testimony of conscience. Faith, hope, and 
love are, according to Mr. Wesley, the essence of religion. 
But the very first effect of faith is peace, or the relief of the 
moral nature from the sense of guilt. On the other hand, 
good hope can only live by the side of a good conscience; 
and love unites with conscience in bringing forth all good 
works. There is thus perfect unity and harmony of the 
moral and religious elements in the Christian experience. 
There is also a continuity of this moral element with the 
preceding elements of Christian experience. Faith, the 
direct witness, the abiding faith, and testimony of conscience 
follow in a natural order one from the other, and are abso- 
lutely necessary one to the other. Mr. Wesley distinctly 
recognizes the presence and th« power of the Holy Ghost in 
every one of these factors of religious life, quite as much so 
in the last as in the first. Conscience as well as faith sees 
the things of God by the Spirit of God." 

Mr. Wesley's definition of conscience, being derived from 
the Scriptures, will abide the test of criticism and of time 
that tries all things. Gradually the writers on moral phi- 



losophy are laying the same foundation. A recent writer 
who adopts the intuitional philosophy affirms that there are 
three states of the personal reason: consciousness, which is 
the concrete state; self-consciousness, which is the reason 
acting upon things without as well as within itself; and sub- 
consciousness, which forms the materials upon which the 
reason acts. According to this division of the reason, con- 
science is the state of self -consciousness, which concerns 
itself with objects of right and wrong, determined for itself. 
This act of self-consciousness is only rightly performed, ac- 
cording to Mr. Wesley and the Scriptures, when the Divine 
Spirit enlightens the understanding and obedience follows 
the conviction of duty. 


I. What is conscience? Not mere consciousness, but con- 
sciousness of right and wrong implanted by God in the soul. 
Its rule is, generally, the law written in the heart; specially, 
the word of God. 

.II. A good conscience implies: 1. A right understanding 
of God's word. 2. A knowledge of ourselves, both inward 
tempers and outward conversation. 3. An agreement of 
these with the rule. 4. An inward perception of this agree- 

The foundation of this must be laid in faith in our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

The apostle's description of the good conscience. " Conver- 
sation" includes all inward and outward life; "simplicity" 
is right intention ; " sincerity," the faithful execution of in- 
tention ; not a mere morality of nature, but wrought in us 
by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

III. The joy springing from this is: 1. 'Not a natural 
joy, or mere exuberance of spirits. 2. Not a mere blind- 
ness of conscience concealing sin. 3. Nor a callousness of 
conscience taking pleasure in sin. 4. But a joy in obedi- 
ence, loving God, and keeping his commandments. 



'This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our conscience, that m 
implicit}/ and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." 
—2 Cor. i. 12. 

1. Such is the voice of every true believer in Christ, 
bo long as he abides in faith and love. " He that fol- 
loweth me," saith our Lord, " walketh not in darkness :" 
and while he hath the light, he rejoice th therein. As he 
hath " received the Lord Jesus Christ," so he walketh 
in him ; and while he walketh in him, the exhortation 
of the apostle takes place in his soul, day by day, 
" Rejoice in the Lord always ; and again I say. Re- 

2. But that we may not build our house upon the 
sand, (lest when the rains descend, and the winds blow, 
and the floods arise and beat upon it, it fall, and great 
be the fall thereof,) I intend in the following discourse 
to show, what is the nature and ground of a Christian's 
joy. We know, in general, it is that happy peace, that 
calm satisfaction of spirit, which arises from such a tes- 
timony of his conscience, as is here described by the 
apostle. Rut, in order to understand this the more 
thoroughly, it will be requisite to weigh all his words; 
whence will easily appear, both what we are to under- 
stand by conscience, and what by the testimony therecf ; 
and also, how he that hath this testimony rejoice tb 

3. And, first, what are we to understand by con> 
titwxf What is the meaning of this word that in is 


every one's mouth ? One would imagine it was an ex- 
ceeding difficult thing to discover this, when we con- 
sider how large and numerous volumes have been from 
time to time wrote on this subject ; and how all th« 
treasures of ancient and modern learning have been ran- 
sacked, in order to explain it. And yet it is to be feared, 
it has not received much light from all those elaborate 
inquiries. Bather, have not most of those writers pui- 
zled the cause ; " darkening counsel by words without 
knowledge;" perplexing a subject plain in itself and 
easy to be understood ? For, set aside but hard words, 
and evcy man of an honest heart will soon understand 
the thing. 

4. God has made us thinking beings, capable of per- 
ceiving what is present, and of reflecting or looking back 
on what is past. In particular, we are capable of per- 
ceiving whatsoever passes in our own hearts or lives; 
of knowing whatsoever we feel or do ; and that cither 
while it passes, or when it is past. This we mean when 
wo say, man is a conscious being : he hath a conscious- 
ness, or inward perception, both of things present and 
ps,st, relating to himself, of his own tempci3 ind out- 
ward behaviour. But what we usually term conscicnct 
implies somewhat more than this. It is not barely the 
knowledge of our present or the remembrance of our 
preceding life. To remember, to bear witness either of 
past or present things, is only one, and the least office 
of conscience : its main busine?" is to excuse or accuse, 
to approve or disapprove, to acquit or condemn. 

5. Some late writers, indeed, have given a new name 
to this, and have chose to style it a moral sense. But 
the old word seems preferable to the new, were it only 
on this account, that it is more common and familiar 
among men, and therefore easier to be understood. And 
to Christians it is undeniably preferable, on another ac- 
count also ; namely, because it is scriptural ; because it 
u the word which the wisdom of God hath chose tc 
ase in the inspired writings. 

And according to the meaning wherein it : s generally 


ased there, particularly in the Epistles of St. Paul, Wi 
may understand by conscience, a faculty or power, im- 
planted by God in every soul that comes into the world, 
of perceiving what is right or wrong in his own heart 
or life, in his tempers, thoughts, words, and actions. 

6. But what is the rule whereby men are to judge cf 
right and wrong 'I whereby their conscience is to be di 
rectcd ? The rule of heathens, as the apostle teaches 
elsewhere, is " the law written in their hearts." " These," 
saith he, " not having the" outward " law, are a law unto 
themselves : who show the work of the law," that which 
the outward law prescribes, " written in their heart," 
by the finger of God ; " their conscience also bearing 
witness," whether they walk by this rule or not, " and 
their thoughts the mean while accusing, or even ex- 
cusing," acquitting, defending them ; tj *<u aitoioyovptvuv. 
(Rom. ii. 14, 15.) But the Christian rule of right and 
wrong is the word of God, the writings of the Old and 
New Testament ; all that the prophets and "holy men 
of old" wrote " as they were moved by the Holy Ghost ;" 
all that Scripture which was "^given by inspiration" of 
God, and which is indeed "profitable for doctrine," 
or teaching the whole will of God ; " for reproof" of 
what is contrary thereto ; for " correction" of error ; and 
" for instruction," or training us up, " in righteousness. " 
(2 Tim. iii. 16.) 

This is a lantern unto a Christian's feet, and a light 
in all his paths. This alone he receives as his rule of 
right or wrong, of whatever is really good or evil. He 
esteems nothing good but what is here enjoined, either 
directly or by plain consequence ; he accounts nothing 
evil but what is here forbidden, either in terms, or by 
ondcniable inference. Whatever the Scripture neither 
forbids nor enjoins, either directly or by plain conse- 

Snenoe, he believes to be of an indifferent nature ; to 
e in itself neither good nor evil ; this being the whole 
tnd sole outward rule whereby his conscience is to be 
Erected in all things. 
7 And if it be directed thereby in fact, then hath he 


" llie answer of a good conscience toward God." "A 
good conscience" is what is elsewhere termed by the 
apostle, a " conscience void of offence. " So, what he 
at one time expresses thus, " I have lived in all good 
conscience before God until this day ;" (Acts, xxiii. 1 ;) 
he denotes at another by that expression, " Herein do I 
exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of 
offence toward God, and toward men." (Chap. xxiv. 
16 ) Now, in order to this, there is absolutely required, 
first, a right understanding of the word of God, of his 
" holy, and acceptable, and perfect will" concerning us, 
as it is revealed therein. For it is impossible we should 
walk by a rule, if we do not know what it means. 
!Ehere is, secondly, required (which how few have at- 
tained !) a true knowledge of ourselves ; a knowledge 
both of our hearts and lives, of our inward tempers and 
outward conversation : seeing, if we know them not, it 
is not possible that we should compare them with our 
rule. There is required, thirdly, an agreement of our 
hearts and lives, of our tempers and conversation, of 
our thoughts, and words, and works, with that rule, 
with the written word of God. For, without this, if we 
have any conscience at all, it can be only an evil con- 
science. There is, fourthly, required, an inward percep- 
tion of this agreement with our rule : and this habitual 
perception, this inward consciousness itself, is properly a 
good conscience ; or, in the other phrase of the apostle, 
" a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward 

8. But whoever desires to have a conscience thus 
void of offence, let him see that he lay the right foun- 
dation. Let him remember, " other foundation" of this 
r 'can no man lay, than that which is laid, even Jesus 
Christ." And let him also be mindful, that no man 
buildeth on him but by a living faith ; that no man is a 
partaker of Christ, until he can clearly testify, "The 
lifo which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of 
God ;" in him who is now revealed in my heart : who 
u loved me, and gave himself for me." Faith alone ii 


that evidence, that conviction, that demonstration of 
things invisible, whereby, the eyes of our understanding 
being opened, and divine light poured in upon them, 
.we "see the wondrous things of God's law;" the ex- 
cellency and purity of it ; the height, and depth, and 
length, and breadth thereof, and of every commandment 
oontained therein. It is by faith that, beholding " the 
light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 
ire perceive, as in a glass, all that is in ourselves, yea, 
the inmost motions of our souls. And by this alone 
can that blessed love of God be " shed abroad in our 
hearts," which enables us so to love one another as Christ 
loved us. By this is that gracious promise fulfilled unto 
all the Israel of God, " I will put my laws into their 
mind, and write" (or engrave) " them in their hearts ;" 
(Heb. viii. 10 ;) hereby producing in their souls an en- 
tire agreement with his holy and perfect law, and 
"bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience 
of Christ." 

And, as an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, so 
a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. As the heart, 
therefore, of a believer, so likewise his life, is thoroughly 
conformed to the rule of God's commandments; in a 
consciousness whereof, he can give glory to God, and 
say, with the apostle, " This is our rejoiring, the tes 
timony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly 
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of 
God, we have had our conversation in the world." 

9. "We have had our conversation." The apostle, 
in the original, expresses this by one single word, an <j*p» 
tWt* ; but tna meaning 'thereof is exceeding broad, 
taking in our whole deportment, yea, every inward ae 
well as outward circumstance, whether relating to oui 
soul or body. It includes every motion of our heart, 
of our tongue, of our hands, and bodily members. It 
extends to all our actions and words, to the employment 
of all our powers and faculties ; to the manner of using 
every talent we have received, with respect either tf 
ftod or man. 

16 VOL. i. O * a 


10. " We have had our conversation in the world ;'' 
even in the world of the ungodly : not only among the 
children of God; (that were comparatively a little 
thing;) but among the children of the devil, among 
those that lie in wickedness, ev rp rtovypy, in the wkkea 
one. What a world is this ! How thoroughly impreg- 
nated with the spirit it continually breathes ! As our 
God is good, and docth good, so the god of this world, 
and all his children, are evil, and do evil (so far as they 
are suffered) to all the children of God. Like their 
father, they are always lying in wait, or " walking about, 
seeking whom they may devour;" using fraud or force, 
secret wiles or open violence, to destroy those who arc 
not of the world; continually warring against our souls, 
and, by old or new weapons, and devices of every kind, 
labouring to bring them back into the snare of the devil, 
into the broad road that leadeth to destruction. 

11. " We have had our" whole " conversation," in 
such a world, " in simplicity and godly sincerity." First, 
in simplicity : this is what our Lord recommends under 
the name of a " single eye." " The light of the body," 
saith he, " is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light." The meaning 
whereof is this : What the eye is to the body, that the 
intention is to all the words and actions : if, therefore, 
this eye of thy soul be single, all thy actions and con- 
versation shall be " full of light," of the light of heaven, 
of love, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

We are then simple of heart, when the eye of oui 
mind is singly fixed on God ; when in all things we aim 
at God alone, as our God, our portion, our strength, our 
happiness, our exceeding great reward, our all, in timo 
and eternity. This is simplicity ; when a steady view, 
a single intention of promoting his glory, of doing and 
suffering his blessed will, runs through our whole soul, 
fills all our heart, and is the constant spring of all oui 
thoughts, desires, and purposes. 

12. " Wo have had our conversation in the world," 
•eoondly, " in godly sincerity." The difference betweei 


simplicity and sincerity seems to be chiefly this : siin 
plicity regards the intention itself, sincerity the execu- 
tion of it ; and this sincerity relates not barely to oui 
Tords, but to our whole conversation, as described 
above. It is not here to be understood in that narrow 
gense, wherein St. Paul himself sometimes uses it, for 
speaking the truth, or abstaining from guile, from craft, 
and dissimulation ; but in a more extensive meaning, 
as actually hitting the mark, which we aim at by sim- 
plicity. Accordingly, it implies in this place, that we 
do, in fact, speak and do all to the glory of God ; that 
all our words are not only pointed at this, but actually 
conducive thereto ; that all our actions flow on in an 
even stream, uniformly subservient to this great end ; 
and that, in our whole lives, we are moving straight 
toward God, and that continually ; walking steadily on 
in the highway of holiness, in the paths of justice, 
mercy, and truth. 

13. This sincerity is termed by the apostle, " godly 
sincerity," or the sincerity of God ; i vuxpmtia @i<n> ; to 
prevent our mistaking or confounding it with the sin- 
cerity of the heathens; (for they had also a kind of 
sincerity among them, for which they professed no 
small veneration ;) likewise to denote the object and end 
of this, as of every Christian virtue, seeing whatever 
does not ultimately tend to God, sinks among " the beg- 
garly elements of the world." By styling it the sin- 
cerity of God, he also points out the author of it, the 
" Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect 
gift descendeth ;" which is still more clearly declared in 
the following words, " Not'with fleshly wisdom, but by 
the grace of God." 

14. " Not with fleshly wisdom :" as if he had said, 
" We cannot thus converse in the world, by any natural 
strength of understanding, neither by any naturally ac- 
quired knowledge or wisdom. We cannot gain this 
simplicity, or practise this sincerity, by the force either 
of good sense, good nature, or good breeding. It over- 
ikoots all our native courage and resolution, as well as 


al) our precepts of philosophy. The power ot" custom 
is not able to train us up to this, nor the most exquisite 
rul^s of human education. Neither could T Paul evet 
attain hereto, notwithstanding all the advantages I en 
joyed, so long as I was in the flesh, in my natural state, 
and pursued it only by fleshly, natural wisdom." 

And yet, surely, if any man could, Paul himself 
might have attained thereto by that wisdom : for we cau 
hardly conceive any who was more highly favoured with 
all the gifts both of nature and education. Besides his 
natural abilities, probably not inferior to those of any 
person then upon the earth, he had all the benefits of 
learning, studying at the University of Tarsus, after 
wards brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a person of 
the greatest account, both for knowledge and integrity, 
that was then in the whole Jewish nation. And he had 
all the possible advantages of religious education ; being 
a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, trained up in the very 
straitest sect or profession, distinguished from all others 
by a more eminent strictness. And herein he had " pro- 
fited above many" others, " who were his equals" in 
years, " being more abundantly zealous" of whatever 
he thought would please God, and, "as touching the 
righteousness of the law, blameless." But it could not 
be that he should hereby attain this simplicity and 
godly sincerity. It was all but lost labour; in a deep, 
piercing sense of which he was at length constrained to 
cry out, " The things which were gain to me, those I 
counted loss for Christ : yea doubtless, and I count all 
things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus my Lord." (Phil. iii. 7, 8.) 

15. It could not be that ever he should attain to this, 
but by the " excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ" our 
Loid ; or "by the grace of God," — another expression 
of nearly the same import. By " the grace of God" if 
sometimes to be understood that free love, that un- 
merited mercy, by which I, a sinner, through the merits 
of Christ, am now reconciled to God. But in this place, 
it rather means that power jf God the Holy Ghost. 



which " worketh in us both to will and to do of his good 
pleasure." As soon as ever the grace of God in the 
former sense, his pardoning love, is manifested to oui 
souls, the grace of God in the latter sense, the power of 
bis Spirit, takes place therein. And now we can per- 
furm, through God, what to man was impossible. Now 
we can order our conversation aright. We can do all 
things in the light and power of that love, through 
Christ which strengtheneth us. We now have "the 
testimony of our conscience," which we could never have 
by fleshly wisdom, " that in simplicity and godly sin- 
cerity we have our conversation in the world." 

16. This is properly the ground of a Christian's joy. 
Wc may now therefore readily conceive, how he that 
hath this testimony in himself rejoiceth evermore. 
" My soul," may he say, " doth magnify the Lord, and 
my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour." I rejoice in 
him, who, of his own unmerited love, of his own free 
and tender mercy, " hath called me into this state of 
Balvation," wherein, through his power, I now stand. I 
rejoice, because his Spirit bcareth witness to my spirit, 
that I am bought with the blood of the Lamb; and 
that, believing in him, "I am a member of Christ, a 
child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." 
I rejoice, because the sense of God's iove to me hath, 
by tho same Spirit, wrought in me to love him, and to 
love for his sake every child of man, every soul that he 
hath made. I rejoice, because he gives me to feel in 
myself " the mind that was in Christ :" — simplicity, a 
single eye to him, in every motion of my heart ; power 
always to fix the loving 'eye of my soul on Him who 
" loved me, and gave himself for me ;" to aim at him 
alone, at his glorious will, in all I think, or speak, or 
do : — purity, desiring nothing more but God ; " cruci- 
fying the flesh with its affections and lusts ;" " setting 
my affections on things above, not on things of tbr 
«*rth :" — holiness, a recovery of the image of God, a 
renewal of soul " after his likeness :" — and godly sin 
vrity, directing all my words and works, so as to oon 


duce to his glory. In this I likewise rejoice, yea, and 
will rejoice, because my conscience beareth me witness 
;n the Holy Ghost, by the light he continually pours in 
upon it, that I " walk worthy of the vocation where- 
with I am called ;" that I " abstain from all appearance 
of evil," fleeing from sin as from the face of a serpent ; 
that as I have opportunity I do all possible good, in 
every kind, to all men ; that I follow my Lord in all 
my steps, and do what is acceptable in his sight. I 
rejoice, because I both see and feel, through the inspi- 
ration of God's Holy Spirit, that all my works are 
wrought in him, yea, and that it is He who worketh all 
my works in me. I rejoice in seeing through the light 
of God, which shines in my heart, that I have power to 
walk in his ways ; and that through his grace, I turn 
Qot therefrom, to the right hand or to the left. 

17. Such is the ground and the nature of that joy 
whereby an adult Christian rejoiceth evermore. And 
from all this we may easily infer, first, that this is not 
a natural joy. It does not arise from any natural cause : 
not from any sudden flow of spirits. This may give a 
transient start of joy ; but the Christian rejoiceth always. 
It cannot be owing to bodily health or ease ; to strength 
and soundness of constitution : for it is equally strong 
in sickness and pain ; yea, perhaps far stronger than 
before. 3Iany Christians have never experienced any 
joy to be compared with that which then filled their 
soul, when the body was wellnigh worn out with pain, 
or consumed away with pining sickness. Least of all 
can it be ascribed to outward prosperity, to the favour 
of men, or plenty of worldly goods ; for then, chiefly, 
when their faith has been tried as with fire, by all man- 
ner of outward afflictions, have the children of God re- 
joiced in Him, whom unseen they loved, even with joy 
unspeakable. And never surely did men rejoice like 
those who were used as " the filth and offscouring of 
he world ;" who wandered to and fro, being in want of 
-11 things; in hunger, in cold, in nakedness; who had 
trials, not only of " cruel mockings," bu f , " moiwwei 



of bonds and imprisonments ;" yea, who, at last, 
" counted not their lives dear unto themselves, so they 
might finish their course with joy." 

18. From the preceding considerations, we may, se- 
condly, infer, that the joy of a Christian docs not arise 
from any blindness of conscience, from his not being 
able to discern good from evil. So far from it, that he 
was an utter stranger to this joy, till the eyes of his un- 
derstanding were opened; that he knew it not, until he 
had spiritual senses, fitted to discern spiritual good and 
evil. And now the eye of his soul waxeth not dim : he 
was never so sharp-sighted before : he has so quick i 
perception of the smallest things, as is quite amazing <n 
the natural man. As a mote is visible in the sunbeam, 
so to him who is walking in the light, in the beams of 
the uncreated Sun, every mote of sin is visible. Nor 
does he close the eyes of his conscience any more : that 
sleep is departed from him. His soul is always broad 
awake : no more slumber or folding of the hands to 
rest ! He is always standing on the tower, and heark- 
ening what his Lord will say concerning him ; and al- 
ways rejoicing in this very thing, in " seeing him that 
is invisible." 

19. Neither does the joy of a Christian arise, thirdly, 
from any dulness or callousness of conscience. A kind 
of joy, it is true, may arise from this, in those whose 
" foolish hearts are darkened ;" whose heart is callous, 
unfeeling, dull of sense, and consequently without spi- 
ritual understanding. Because of their senseless, unfeel- 
ing hearts, they may rejoice even in committing sin ; 
and this they may probably call liberty ! — which is in- 
deed mere drunkenness of soul, a fatal numbness of 

Suit, the stupid insensibility of a scared conscience, 
l the contrary, a Christian has the most exquisite 
sensibility ; such as he could not have conceived before. 
He n^ver had sueh a tenderness of conscience as he has 
had since the love of God has reigned in his heart 
Alnd this also is his glory and joy, that God hath heard 
kii daily prayer : — 


248 the witness op oua OWN SPIRIT. [see. xn 

" Oh that my tender soul might fly 
The first abhorrM approach of ill ; 
Quick as the apple of an eye, 
The slightest touch of sin to feel '." 

20. To conclude. Christian joy is joy in obedience; 
joy in loving God, and keeping his commandments : 
and yet not in keeping them, as if we were thereby to 
fulfil the terms of the covenant of works; as if hy 
any works or righteousness of ours, we were to procure 
pardon and acceptance with God. Not so : we are 
already pardoned and accepted through the mercy of 
God in Christ Jesus. Not as if we were by our own 
obedience to procure life, life from the death of sin : 
this also we have already through the grace of God. 
Us " hath he quickened, who were dead in sins ;" and 
now we are "alive to God, through Jesus Christ our 
Lord." But we rejoice in walking according to the 
covenant of grace, in holy love and happy obedience. 
We rejoice in knowing that, " being justified through 
his grace," we have "not received that grace of God 
in vain ;" that God having freely (not for the sake of 
our willing or running, but through the blood of the 
Lamb) reconciled us to himself, we run, in the strength 
which he hath given us, the way of his commandments. 
He hath "girded us with strength unto the war," and 
we gladly " fight the good fight of faith." We rejoice, 
through him who liveth in our hearts by faith, to " lay 
hold of eternal life." This is our rejoicing, that as our 
" Father worketh hitherto," so (not by our own might 
or wisdom, but through the power of his Spirit, freely 
gieen in Christ Jesus) we also work the works of God. 
And may he work in us whatsoever is well-pleasing in 
his sight ! To whom be the praise for ever and ever ! 

icribes the experience of those that are ttrong in faith : but herebj 
those that are weak in faith may be discouraged; to prevent wbink 
the following discourse [No. 13] may be of use. 



How can a sinner know 

His sins on earth forgiven? 
How can my gracious Saviour show 

My name inscribed in heaven ? 
What we have felt and seen, 

With confidence we tell ; 
And publish to the sons of men 

The signs infallible. 

We who in Christ believe 

That he for us hath died, 
We all his unknown peace receive 

And feel his blood applied ; 
Exults our rising soul, 

Disburden'd of her load, 
And swells unutterably full 

Of glory and of God 

Hib love, surpassing far 

The love of all beneath, 
We find within our hearts, and dare 

The pointless darts of death. 
Stronger than death and hell, 

The mystic power we prove ; 
And, conquerors of the world, we dwel 

In heaven, who dwell in love 

We by bis Spirit prove 

And know the things of God, 
The things which freely of his love 

He haw on us bestow'd : 
His Spirit to us he gave, 

And dwells in us, we know : 
The witness in ourselves we have, 

And all its fruits we show. 

250 HYMN. 

The meek and lowly heart 

That in our Saviour was, 
To us his Spirit doth impart, 

And signs us with his cross : 
Our nature's turn'd, our mind 

Transform' d in all its powers; 
And both the Witnesses are join'd, 

The Spirit of God with oars. 

Whate'er our pardoning Lord 

Commands, we gladly do ; 
And, guided by his sacred word, 

We all his steps pursue : 
His glory our design, 

We live our God to please ; 
And rise, with filial fear divine. 

To perfect holiness. 


Ques. 1. (If 1.) What is said to be the voice of the true 
believer in Christ? 

Ques. 2. (f 2.) What does he propose to show, and 

Ques. 3. (f 3.) What is said of the volumes written on 

Ques. 4. (f 4.) What has God made us? 

Ques. 5. (f 5.) What new name was given to con- 

Ques. 6. (f 5.) Which word does lie prefer, and why? 

Ques. 7. (fl 5.) What do we understand by conscience? 

Ques. 8. (f 6.) What is the rule of heathens? What is 
the Christian rule? 

Ques. 9. (f 7.) What is a good conscience? 

Ques. 10. (If 8.) What is necessary to this? 

Qnes. 11. (f 9.) What does the apostle mean by "conver- 

Ques. 12. (If 10.) What is said of this world ? 

Ques. 13. (If 11.) What is meant by the "single eye?" 

Ques. 14. (f 12.) What is said secondly of our conversa- 

Ques. 15. (If 13.) What is tKis sincerity called by the apos- 

Ques. 16. (If 14.) What is meant by fleshly wisdom ? 

Ques. 17. (f 14.) What is said of Paul's attaining it? 

Ques. 18. (f 15.) What is meant by "the excellent knowl- 

Ques. 19. (If 16.) Of what is this the ground ? 



Ques. 20. (1f 17.) Is this a natural joy? 
Ques. 21. (T[ 18.) What is the second inference? 
Ques. 22. (If 19.) What is said of those whose foolish 
hearts are darkness? 
Ques. 23. (V 2G,\ How does the sermon conclude? 


We have now reached a point in the theology of Mr. 
Wesley that requires close and accurate thinking if we avoid 
falling into error. If we make a mistake on one side we 
necessarily depreciate the work of regeneration, or the new 
birth. If we tend to the other extreme, we exalt this work 
of regeneration beyond its real character, and fall into the 
error of the Moravians who followed Count Zinzendorf. 
Perfectionism, which so, far undervalues the new birth as to 
place it scarcely above true conviction and repentance, is the 
first danger. Confounding regeneration with sanctification 
is the second danger, Mr. Wesley's views were largely 
shaped by his own experience. 

It is scarcely to be doubted that the providence of God 
permits some of his chosen teachers to pass through extra- 
ordinary trials of faith in order to perfect their conceptions 
of Christian doctrine. After a long course of intensely ear- 
nest and honest seeking, Mr. Wesley found peace in believ- 
ing on the 24th of May, 1738. He had then, according to 
his own 'diary, a clear witness of the Spirit of God bearing 
witness with his own spirit that he was a child of God — that 
Christ' died for him. For some weeks he had the victory 
over sin, and his soul was filled with joy. Any doubt that 
came to his mind was overcome by prayer and searching the 

But only five months had passed away before we find Mr. 
Wesley writing these words to his brother Samuel: "Some 
measure of this faith, which bringeth salvation or victory 



over sin, and which implies peace and trust in God through 
Christ, 1 now enjoy by his free mercy, though in very deed 
it is in me but as a grain of mustard-seed. For the ■Klypoipopia 
moTeuc — the seal of the Spirit, the love of God shed abroad 
in my heart and producing joy in the Holy Ghost, joy which 
no man taketh away, joy unspeakable and full of glory — this 
witness of the Spirit I have not, but I wait patiently for it. 
I know many who have already received it; and having seen 
and spoken with a cloud of witnesses abroad as well as in 
my own country, I cannot doubt but that believers who wait 
and pray for it will find these scriptures fulfilled in them- 
selves. My hope is that they will be fulfilled in me. I 
build on Christ, the Rock of Ages." 

Still later than this — in January, 1739 — in still stronger 
words he repeated the above statement, and closed the ex- 
traordinary record with these lines: "From hence I con- 
clude, though I have given and do give all my goods to feed 
the poor, I am not a Christian. Though I have endured 
hardship, though I have in all things denied myself and 
taken up my cross, I am not a Christian. My works are 
nothing; my sufferings are nothing; I have not the fruits 
of the Spirit of Christ. Though I have constantly used 
all the means of grace for twenty years, I am not a Chris- 

When we remember that these words were written neaily 
ten months after his conversion, we cannot be surprised that 
they have greatly puzzled the biographers of Mr. Wesley. 
Most of these writers have passed by this phase of John 
Wesley's career, and the biographer who gives the facts in 
greatest detail does not attempt to explain them. Never- 
theless we ought to consider this feature of his early Chris- 
tian experience, and understand it if we can. In doing this 
let us follow his example, and search for the truth, wherever 
it may lead us. 

If we examine his journal closely, and the statement of 
his experience, which he gave so frequently afterward, we 


will find Mr. Wesley in the habit of indulging a self-scru- 
tiny which denoted a mind that could not be satisfied with 
any thing short of moral certitude. These daily, almost 
hourly, processes of self-examination he placed upon record 
in his diary, and they naturally and necessarily reflected all 
the changes of mood and varieties of thought which he ex- 
perienced. These rigorous criticisms spared nothing that 
passed through his mind. One consequence was that he 
was exposed to the danger of confounding temptation with 
actual sin. Then he found in himself occasions, if not the 
causes, of temptation ; and it was natural that his sensitive con- 
science should pass the narrow boundary-line, and condemn 
himself for those errors and shortcomings which he afterward 
declared were "improperly called" sins of infirmity. 

The first serious doubts and misgivings led him to take 
the journey to Germany, there to avail himself of the ma- 
tured experience of the Moravians at Herrnhuth. The first 
impressions received from them tended to confirm him in 
the low estimate he had placed upon the work of the Spirit 
in his own soul. Contrasting the results of his own self- 
scrutiny with the glowing language and enthusiastic profes- 
sions of the Moravians, it was almost inevitable that he 
should pronounce judgment against himself, because he 
could not use the confident language or the florid rhetoric 
of teachers who knew little of the Scriptures and less of 
human nature. We cannot restrain our feelings of sympa- 
thy, and sometimes of pity, for Mr. Wesley when we find 
him in the toils of these erratic brethren ; but his singleness 
of heart and knowledge of the Scriptures saved him. Un- 
suspecting as he was, there were" so many glaring deficien- 
cies, not to use a stronger word, in life at Herrnhuth that 
he found himself thrown back at last upon the Bible and 
his own soul for a solution of the problem in his own expe- 

He did find the solution, and the sermon we are now 
rtudying was the outcome of the conflict which he waged 


with the errors of Zinzendorf. Mr. Wesley saw not only 
the unscriptural character of the main tenet, but the tend- 
ency of Zinzendorf's theology, which was toward Antinomi- 
anism of the boldest description. In the first place, the 
Moravians taught that there were no degrees in faith ; that 
no man had any kind of faith until he was made a new 
creature in Christ Jesus. In the next place, Zinzendorf 
taught that all our perfection was in Christ, and that the 
perfect righteousness or holiness of Christ was imputed to 
us; and, finally, that the moment a man was justified he was 
sanctified, and from that moment until death there was no 
increase in holiness. 

When Mr. Wesley emerged from the maze of doubts, dif- 
ficulties, and perplexities in which his communion with the 
Germans had involved him, he saw the plain truth of the 
gospel, and proclaimed it with unfaltering purpose. Al- 
though the soul begins a new life at the hour of conversion, 
there remains not only the capacity for, but a tendency to, 
sin. The old Adam of active sin, of resistance to God and 
antagonism to holiness, is gone — buried with Christ by the 
regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. But the Adamic 
fall is more than the ordering of a life, and the new birth 
is more than the change from one set of motives to another. 
After we have passed from death unto life, we are conscious 
that there remains a diseased moral nature whose allies are 
flesh and blood; and though these are conquered, they are 
not annihilated by the change which makes us children of 
God. Whether this moral nature — which he called some- 
times "inbred sin," "inward sin," and by others is called 
"depravity" — will be utterly overthrown and exterminated 
until the last act in the final redemption of humanity, is a 
question to be discussed hereafter in some of its phases. 

But does it not appear to be, in the order of Providence, 
necessary for Mr. Wesley to have experimental knowledge 
of that state of mind which has induced despair in some 
and false conceptions of the gospel in others'? Could he 


have given us a faithful portrait of our moral nature with- 
out having passed through those experiences which occa- 
sioned the sad and doubtful words we have quoted from his 
diary and letters? 

What is more natural than the tendency to locate sin in 
the flesh of this mortal body when a converted soul finds 
itself in the midst of temptation and incitements to sin ? 
The sagacious mind of Mr. Wesley analyzed his own expe-' 
rience, and finding himself not actually free from the war- 
fare between good and evil, he searched the Scriptures, and 
was thereby led into the deep things of God. The aspira- 
tions of his soul for the higher life were accentuated by the 
doubts into which he had fallen; and when he once more 
threw himself upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus the 
Spirit of power and of love and of a conscience undefiled 
manifested itself to him, and once more he was clothed with 
the spirit of rejoicing, having the peace that the world can- 
not give and cannot take away. Thus early in his career was 
the great question settled, and settled for all time. Guard- 
ing himself against the presumption which rests satisfied 
in the work already done, he saw the constant need of watch- 
fulness, patience, and faith in the atoning blood of Christ. 

Hereby many timid and doubting souls have been greatly 
comforted, and the example of a man whose zeal and labors 
approach the apostolic standard will breathe courage into 
the fainting spirit. The gospel has a balm for every wound 
and a promise for every soul that is struggling to escape the 
pollutions of the world that he may enter the rest that re- 
maineth for the people of God. 

I. Does, then, sin remain in the believer? An important 
question, to which the ancient Christians, the Church of En- 
gland, the Greek and Roman Churches, and all the Churches 
of the Reformation give substantially one answer. The 
Moravians alone affirm that sin no longer remains in the 
17 P VOL. I. 


believer, or that if it remains in the flesh it does not in the 

II. The persons described are called regenerate, justified, 
or believers, as denoting actual change, relative change, or 
the means by which this is effected. This state is great and 
glorious, including regeneration, sonship, the indwelling of 
the Spirit, sanctifying grace, and power over sin. 

III. But it does not include freedom from all sin, as ap- 
pears — 

1. From Scripture. Gal. v. 17; 1 Cor. i. 2, compared with 
chapter iii. 1-3; Rev. ii. 2, 3, 4, 13, 16, and iii. 2, etc.; 2 
Cor. viii. 1. 

2. From Christian experience. 

3. From the universal testimony of the Church. 

IV. Answers to opponents. All arguments founded on 
absolute interpretation of Scripture terms. It is the fallacy 
of arguing from a ■particular to a general. 

V Summary of Wesley's doctrine. 

There are, even in the justified, two contrary principles — 
nature and grace.. Babes in Christ are sanctified, but only 
in part. They are spiritual, but also carnal to some extent. 
Hence they need to watch against the flesh. The opDosi'.s 
doctrine is new and dangerous. 



'Ifmy man be in Chriit, he it a new creature." — 2 Gob. ▼. 1} 

1. 1. Is there then sin in him that is in Chrhtl 
Does sin remain in one that believes in him ? Is there 
any sin in them that are born of God, or are they wholly 
delivered from it? Let no one imagine this to be a 
question of mere curiosity ; or that it is of little import- 
ance whether it be determined one way or the other. 
Rather it is a point of the utmost moment to every seri- 
ous Christian j the resolving of which very nearly con- 
cerns both his present and eternal happiness. 

2. And yet I do not know that ever it was contro- 
verted in the primitive church. Indeed, there was no 
room for disputing concerning it, as all Christians were 
agreed. And so far as I have ever observed, the whole 
body of ancient Christians, who have left us any thing in 
writing, declare with one voice, that even believers in 
Christ, till they are " strong in the Lord and in the 
power of his might," have need to " wrestle with flesh 
and blood," with an evil nature, as well as " with prin- 
cipalities and powers." * 

8. And herein our own Church (as indeed in most 
points) exactly copies after the primitive ; declaring in 
her Ninth Article, " Original sin is the corruption of the 
nature of every man, whereby man is in his own nature 
inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth contrary to the 
8pirit. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea. 
in them that are regenerated ; whereby the lust of the 
fash, called in Greek tpm^/ta oapsof, is not subject to 

260 SIN IN BEIJEVER8. [8ER. im 

the law of God. And although there is no condemna- 
tion for them that believe, yet this lust hath of itself 
the nature of sin." 

4. The same testimony is given by all other Churches; 
not only by the Greek and Romish Church, but by 
every Reformed Church in Europe, of whatever deno- 
mination. Indeed, some of these seem to carry the 
thing too far ; so describing the corruption of heart in a 
believer, as scarce to allow that he has dominion over 
it, but rather is in bondage thereto ; and, by this means, 
they leave hardly any distinction between a believer and 
an unbeliever. 

5. To avoid this extreme, many well-meaning men, 
particularly those under the direction of the late Count 
Zinzendorf, ran into another ; affirming, that " all true 
believers are not only saved from the dominion of sin, 
but from the being of inward as well as outward sin, so 
that it no longer remains in them :" and from them, 
about twenty years ago, many of our countrymen im- 
bibed the same opinion, that even the corruption of 
nature is no more in those who believe in Christ. 

6. It is true that, when the Germans were pressed 
upon this head, they soon allowed, (many of them, at 
least,) that "sin did still remain in the flesh, but not in 
the heart of a believer :" and, after a time, when the 
absurdity of this was shown, they fairly gave up the 
point; allowing that sin did still remain, though not 
reign, in him that is born of God. 

7 But the English, who had received it from them, 
(some directly, some at second or third hand,) were 
not so easily prevailed upon to part with a favourite 
opinion; and even when the generality of them were 
convinced it was utterly indefensible, a few could not 
be persuaded to give it up, but maintain it to this day. 

II. 1. For the sake of those who really fear God, 
»nd desire to know " the truth as it is in Jesus," it may 
not be amiss to consider the point with calmness and 
impartiality. In doing this, I use indifferently the 
words, regenerate, Justified, or believers; since, though 



they have not precisely the same meaning, (the first 
implying an inward, actual change, the second a rela- 
tive one, and the third the means whereby both the one 
and the other are wrought,) yet they come to one and 
the same thing; as every one that believes, is both 
justified and born of God. 

2. By sin, I here understand inward sin ; any sinful' 
temper, passion, or affection ; such as pride, self-will, 
love of the world, in any kind or degree ; such as lust, 
anger, peevishness ; any disposition contrary to the mind 
whioh was in Christ. 

3. The question is not concerning outward sin; 
whether a child of God commit sin, or no. We all 
agree and earnestly maintain, " He that committeth sin 
is of the devil." We agree, " Whosoever is born of 
God doth not commit sin." Neither do we now inquire 
whether inward sin will always remain in the children 
of God ; whether sin will continue in the soul as long as 
it continues in the body : nor yet do we inquire whether 
a justified person may relapse either into inward or out- 
ward sin; but simply this,j!s a justified or regenerate 1 
man freed from all sin as soon as he is justified ? Is 
-here then no sin in his heart ? — nor ever after, unless 
he fall from grace ? 

4. We allow that the state of a justified person is 
inexpressibly great and glorious. He is born again, 
" not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 
but of God." He is a child of God, a member of 
Christ, an heir of the kingdom of heaven. " The peace 
of God, which passeth all understanding, keepeth his 
heart and mind in Christ 'Jesus." His very body is a 
" temple of the Holy Ghost," and a " habitation of 
God through the Spirit." He is " created anew in Christ 
Jesus :" he is washed, he is sanctified. His heart is 
purified by faith ; he is cleansed " from the corruption 
that is in the world ;" '' the love of God is shed abroad 
in his heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto 
him." And so long as he " walketh in love," (which 
fee may always do,) he worships God in spirit and in 

4 a a 


truth. He keepeth the commandments of God, and 
doeth those things that arc pleasing in his sight; so 
exercising himself as to " have a conscience void of 
offence toward God, and toward men :" and he has powei 
both over outward and inward sin, even from the moment 
he is justified. 

III. 1. " But was he not then freed from all sin, so 
that there is no sin in his heart?" I cannot say this; 
I cannot believe it; because St. Paul says the con- 
trary. He is speaking to believers, and describing the 
state of believers in general, when he says, " The flesh 
lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the 
flesh : these are contrary the one to the other." (Gal 
v. 17.) Nothing can be more express. The apostle 
here directly affirms that the flesh, evil nature, opposes 
the Spirit, even in believers ; that even in the rege- 
nerate there are two principles, " contrary the one to 
the other." 

2. Again : when he writes to the believers at Corinth, 
to those who were sanctified in Christ Jesus, (1 Cor. i. 2,) 
he says, " I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto 
spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. 
Ye are yet carnal : for whereas there is among you 
envying and strife, are ye not carnal?" (iii. 1— -3.) 
Now, here the apostle speaks unto those who were un- 
questionably believers, — whom, in the same breath, he 
styles his brethren in Christ, — as being still, in a 
measure, carnal. He affirms, there was envying, (an 
evil temper,) occasioning strife among them, and yet 
does not give the least intimation that they had lost 
their faith. Nay, he manifestly declares they had not; 
for then they would not have been " babes in Christ." 
And (what is most remarkable of all) he speaks of being 
carnal, and babes in Christ, as one and the same thing; 
plainly showing that every believer is (in a degree] 
carnal, while he is only a babe in Christ. 

3. Indeed, this grand point, that there are two oon- 
trary principles in believers, — nature and grace, th< 
flesh and the Spirit, — runs through all the Epistles of 8* 


Paul, yea, through all the holy Scriptures . almost all 
the directions and exhortations therein are founded on 
this supposition; pointing at wrong tempers or prac- 
tices in those who are, notwithstanding, acknowledged 
by the inspired writers to he believers. And they are 
continually exhorted to fight with and conquer these, by 
the power of the faith which was in them. 

4. And who can doubt, but there was faith in the 
angel of the church at Ephesus, when our Lord said to 
bim, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy 
patience : thou hast patience, and for my name's sake 
bast laboured, and hast not fainted ?" (Rev. ii. 2-4.) 
But was there, meantime, no sin in his heart ? Yea, or 
Christ would not have added, " Nevertheless, I have 
somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first 
love." This was real sin which God saw in his heart ; 
of which, accordingly, he is exhorted to repent : and yet 
we have no authority to say, that even then he had no 

5. Nay, the angel of the church at Pergamos, also, is 
exhorted to repent, which implies sin, though our Lord 
expressly says, "Thou hast not denied my faith." 
(Verses 13, 16.) And to the angel of the church in 
Sardis he says, "Strengthen the things which remain, 
that are ready to die." The good which remained was 
ready to die, but was not actually dead. (Chap. iii. 2.) 
So there was still a spark of faith even in him ; which 
be is accordingly commanded to holdfast. (Verse 3.) 

G. Once more : when the apostle exhorts believers 
to " cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and 
spirit," (2 Cor. vii. 1,) he. plainly teaches, that those 
ibelievcrs were not yet cleansed therefrom. 
\ Will you answer, " He that abstains from all appear- 
Since of evil does, ipso facto, cleanse himself from all 
filthiness F" Not in anywise. For instance : a man re- 
viles me : I feel resentment, which is filthiness of spirit ; 
yet I say not a word. Here I " abstain from all appear- 
wce of evil j" but this does not cleansr me from tha' 
Uthiness of spirit as I experience to mj sorrow- 


7. And as this position, " There is no sin in a be- 
liever, no carnal mind, no bent to backsliding," is thus 
aontrary to the word of God, so it is to the experience 
of his children. These continually feel a heart bent to 
backsliding ; a natural tendency to evil ; a proneness to 
depart from God, and cleave to the things of earth. 
They are daily sensible of sin remaining in their heart,— 
pride, self-will, unbelief; and of sin cleaving to all they 
speak and do, even their best actions and holiest duties. 
5Tet at the same time they 'know that they are of 
God ;" they cannot doubt ol it for a moment. They 
feel his Spirit clearly " witnessing with their spirit, 
that they are the children of God." They "rejoice 
in God through Christ Jesus, by whom they have now 
received the atonement." So that they are equally 
assured, that sin is in them, and that " Christ is in them 
the hope of glory." 

'8. "But can Christ be in the same heart where sinV 
is ?" Undoubtedly he can ; otherwise it never could 
be saved therefrom Where the sickness is, there is the 

" Carrying on his work within, 
Striving till he oast out sin." 

Christ indeed cannot reign, where sin reigns ; neither 
will he dwell where any sin is allowed. But he is and 
dwells in the heart of every believer, who is fighting 
against all sin; although it be not yet purified, accord 
ing to the purification of the sanctuary. 

9. It has been observed before, that the opposite 
doctrine — that there is no sin in believers — is quite new 
in the church of Christ ; that it was never heard of for 
seventeen hundred years ; never till it was discovered 
by Count Zinzendorf. I do not remember to have seen 
the least intimation of it, either in any ancient or 
modern writer ; unless, perhaps, in some of the wild, 
ranting Antinomians. And these likewise say and "" 
say, acknowledging there is sin in their Jlesh, although 
do sin in their heart But whatever doctrine is net* 


must be wrong ; for the old religion is the only trut 
one ; and no doctrine can be right, unless it is the very 
same •' which was from the beginning." 

10. One argument more against this new, unscrip- 
tural doctrine, may be drawn from the dreadful conse- 
quences of itjvfbne says, " I felt anger to-day." Must 
I reply, " Then you have no faith ?" Another says, " I 
know what you advise is good, but my will is quite 
averse to it." Must I tell him, " Then you are an un- 
believer, under the wrath and the curse of God ?" What 
will be the natural consequence of this ? Why, if he 
believe what I say, his soul will not only be grieved and 
wounded, but perhaps utterly destroyed ; inasmuch as 
he wijl " cast away" that " confidence which hath great 
recompense of reward :" and having cast away his shield, 
how shall he "quench the fiery darts of the wicked 
one?" How shall he overcome the world? — seeing 
'this is the victory that overcometh the world, even 
our faith." He stands disarmed in the midst of his 
enemies, open to all their assaults. What wonder, then, 
if he be utterly overthrown ; if they take him captive 
at their will ; yea, if he fall from one wickedness to 
another, and never see good any more?" I cannot, 
therefore, by any means receive this assertion, that 
there is no sin in a believer from the moment he is jus- 
tified ; first, because it is contrary to the whole tenor of 
Scripture ; — s econdly , because it is contrary to the ex- 
perience of the children of God ; — thirdly, because it is 
absolutely new, never heard of in the world till yester- 
day j — and, lastly, because it is naturally attended with 
the most fatal consequences ; not only grieving those 
whom God hath not grieved, but perhaps dragging them, 
into everlasting perdition. 

IV. 1. However, let us give a fair hearing to the 
chief arguments of those who endeavour to support it 
And it is, first, from Scripture they attempt to prove 
that there is no sin in a believer. They argue thus : 
"The Scripture says, Every believer is born of God, is 
Jlean, is holy, is sanctified, is pure in heart, has a new 


heart, is a temple of the Holy Ghost. Now, as ' that 
which is horn of the flesh is flesh,' is altogether evil, so 
' that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' is altogether 
good. Again : a man cannot be clean, sanctified, holy, 
and at the same time unclean, unsanctified, unholy. He 
cannot be pure and impure, or have a new and an old 
heart together. Neither can his soul be unholy, while 
it is a temple of the Holy Ghost." 

I have put this objection as strong as possible, that 
its full weight may appear. Let us now examine it 
part by part. And, 1. " That which is born of the 
Spirit is spirit, is altogether good." I allow the text, 
but not the comment. For the text affirms this, and no 
more, — that every man who is "born of the Spirit" is 
a spiritual man. He is so : but so he may be, and yet 
not be altogether spiritual. The Christians at Corinth 
were spiritual men ; else they had been no Christians 
at all : and yet they were not altogether spiritual ; they 
were still, in part, carnal. — " But they were fallen from 
grace." St. Paul says, No. They were even then 
babes in Christ. 2. "But a man cannot be clean, 
sanctified, holy, and at the same time unclean, unsanc- 
tified, unholy." Indeed he may. So the Corinthians 
were. "Ye are washed," says the apostle, "ye are 
sanctified ;" namely, cleansed from " fornication, idola- 
try, drunkenness," and all other outward sin ; (1 Cor. 
vi. 9-1 1 ;) and yet, at the same time, in another sense 
of the word, they were unsanctified; they were not 
washed, not inwardly cleansed from envy, evil-sur- 
mising, partiality. " But, sure, they had not a new 
heart and an old heart together." It is most sure they 
had ; for at that very time their hearts were truly, yet 
not entirely, renewed. Their carnal mind was nailed 
to the cross ; yet it was not wholly destroyed. " But 
uouid they be unholy, while they were temples of the 
Holy Ghost?" Yes; that they were temples of the 
Holy Ghost is certain ; (1 Cor. vi. 19 ;) and it is 
equally certain, they were, in some degree, carnal, tha» 
is, unholy. 

«m. xm.] SIN IN BELIEVERS. 267 

2. " However, there is one scripture more which will 
put the matter out of question : ' If any man be' a be- 
liever ' in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are 
passed away j behold, all things are become new.' (2 Cor. 
v. 17.) Now, certainly, a man cannot be a new creature 
and an old creature at once." Yes, he may : be may 
be partly renewed, which was the very case with those 
at Corinth. They were doubtless "renewed in the 
spirit cf their mind/' or they could not have been so 
much as " babes in Christ ;" yet they had not the whole 
mind which was in Christ, for they envied one another. 
"But it is said expressly, 'Old things are passed 
away j all things are become new/ " But we must not 
so interpret the apostle's words as to make him con- 
tradict himself. And if we will make him consistent 
with himself, the plain meaning of the words is this : 
His old judgment concerning justification, holiness, 
happiness, indeed concerning the things of God in 
general, is now passed away ; so are his old desires, 
designs, affections, tempers, and conversation. All 
these are undeniably become new, greatly changed 
from what they were ; and yet, though they are new, 
they are not wholly new. Still he feels, to his sorrow 
and shame, remains of the old man, too manifest taints 
of his former tempers and affections, though they cannot 
gain any advantage over him, as long as he watches 
unto prayer. 

3. This whole argument, "If he is clean, he is 
clean," " If he is holy, he is holy," (and twenty more 
expressions of the same kind may easily be heaped 
together,) is really no better than playing upon words : 
it is the fallacy of arguing from a particular to a 
qeneral; of inferring a general conclusion from particular 
premises. Propose the sentence entire, and it runs thus ; 
" If he is holy at all, he is holy altogether " That does 
not follow : every babe in Christ is holy, and yet not 
altogether so. \He is saved from sin; yet not entirely: 
it remains, though it does not reign. If you think it 
foes not remain, (in babes at least, whatever be the caw 


with young men or fathers,) you certainly have not con 
gidered the height, and depth, and length, and breadth 
of the law of God ; (even the law of love laid down by 
St. Paul in the thirteenth of Corinthians;) and that 
every <M/o/tM», disconformity to, or deviation from, this 
law, is sin. Now, is there no disconformity to this in 
the heart or life of a believer ? What may be in an adult 
Christian, is another question ; but what a stranger must 
he be to human nature, who can possibly imagine, that 
this is the case with every babe in Christ ! 

4. " But believers walk after the Spirit,* (Rom. viii. 
1,) and the Spirit of God dwells in them ; consequently, 
they are delivered from the guilt, the power, or, in one 
word, the being of sin." 

These are coupled together, as if they were the same 
thing. But they are not the same thing. The guilt is 
one thing, the power another, and the being yet another. 
That believers are delivered from the guilt and power of 
sin, we allow ; that they are delivered from the being of 
it, we deny. Nor does it in any wise follow from these 
texts. A. man may have the Spirit of God dwelling in 
him, and may " walk after the Spirit," though he still 
feels " the flesh lusting against the Spirit." 

5 " But ' the church is the body of Christ ;' (Col. i. 
24 ;; this implies, that its members are washed from all 
filthiness ; otherwise it will follow, that Christ and Belial 
are incorporated with each other." 

Nay, it will not follow from hence, " Those who are 
the mystical body of Christ still feel the flesh lusting 
against the Spirit," that Christ has any fellowship with 
the devil, or with that sin which he enables them to 
resist and overcome. 

6. " But are not Christians * come to the heavenly 
Jerusalem,' where ' nothing defiled can enter V " (Heb 

* What follows for some pages is an answer to a paper published 
in the Christian Magazine, pp. 577-582. I am surprised Mr. Dodd 
should give such a paper a place in his Magazine, which is directly 
contrary to our ninth Article. 



rii. 22.) Yes ; " and to an innumerable company of 
ingels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect r" 
that is, 

" Earth and heaven all agree, 
All is one great family." 

And they are likewise holy and undented, while they 
"walk after the Spirit;" although sensible there is 
another principle in them, and that " these are contrary 
to each other." 

7. " But Christians are reconciled to God. Now, this 
could not be, if any of the carnal mind remained ; for 
this is enmity against God : consequently, no reconcilia- 
tion can be effected, but by its total destruction." 

We are " reconciled to God through the blood of the 
'joss :" and in that moment the fpov^^a sopxoj, the 
corruption of nature, which is enmity with God, is put 
under our feet ; the flesh has no more dominion over us. 
But it still exists, and it is still in its nature enmity 
with God, lusting against his Spirit. 

8. " But ' they that are Christ's have crucified the 
flesh, with its affections and lusts.'." (Gal. v. 24.) They 
have so ; yet it remains in them still, and often struggles 
to break from the cross. " Nay, but they have ' put 
off the old man with his deeds.' " (Col. iii. 9.) They 
have j and, in the sense above described, " old things 
are passed away ; all things are become new." A hun- 
dred texts may be cited to the same effect ; and they 
will all admit of the same answer. " But, to say all in 
one word, < Christ gave himself for the church, that it 
might be holy, and without blemish.' " (Eph. v. 25, 27.) 
And so it will be in the end : but it never was yet, from 
the beginning to this day. 

( 9. " But let experience speak : all who are justified 
lo at that time find an absolute freedom from all sin." 
That I doubt : but, if they do, do they find it ever after ? 
Else you gain nothing. — " If they do not, it is theii 
»wn fault." That remains to be proved. 
10. " Bat ir the very nature rf things, can a nu 
18 - " 


have pride in him, and not be proud ; anger, and yel 
not be angry ?" 

A man may have pride in him, may think of himself 
in some particulars above what he ought to think, (and 
so be proud in that particular,) and yet not be a proud 
man in his general character. He may have anger in 
him, yea, and a strong propensity to furious anger, with- 
out giving way to it. " But can anger and pride be in 
that heart, where only meekness and humility are felt V 
No : but some pride and anger may be in that heart, 
where there is much humility and meekness. 

" It avails not to say, ' These tempers are there, but 
they do not reign :' for sin cannot, in any kind or de- 
gree, exist where it does not reign ; for guilt and power 
are essential properties of sin. Therefore, where one of 
them is, all must be." 

Strange indeed ! " Sin cannot, in any kind or degree, 
exist where it does not reign?" Absolutely contrary 
this to all experience, all Scripture, all common sense. 
Resentment of an affront is sin ; it is avo/ita, discon- 
formity to the law of love. This has existed in me a 
thousand times. Yet it did not, and does not, reign. — 
" But guilt and power are essential properties of sin ; 
therefore, where one is, all must be." f No: in the in- 
"stance before us, if the resentment I feel is not yielded 
to, even for a moment, there is no guilt at all, no con- 
demnation from God upon that account. And in this 
case, it has no power. Though it "lusteth against the 
Spirit," it cannot prevail. Here, therefore, as in ten 
thousand instances, there is sin without either guilt or 
power. I 

11. " But the supposing sin in a believer is pregnant 
with every thing frightful and discouraging. It implies 
the contending with a power that has the possession of 
our strength j maintains his usurpation of our hearts ; 
and there prosecutes the war in defiance of our Re- 
deemer." Not so : the supposing sin is in us, does not 
imply that it has the possession of our strength; no 
more than a man crucified has the possession of those 



that crucify him. As little does it impjj' that " sin 
maintains its usurpation of our hearts." £xhe usurper 
is dethroned. He remains, indeed, where he once 
reigned; but remains in chains. So that he does, in 
some sense, " prosecute the war," yet he grows weaker 
and weaker ; while the believer goes on from strength 
to strength, conquering and to conquer. 

12. " I am not satisfied yet : he that has sin in him, 
is a slave to sin. Therefore you suppose a man to be 
justified, while he is a slave to sin. Now, if you allow 
men may be justified while they have pride, anger, or 
unbelief in them; nay, if you aver, these are (at least 
for a time) in all that are justified ; what wonder that 
we have so many proud, angry, unbelieving believers ?" 
/i do not suppose any man who is justified is a slave 
to Bin : yet I do suppose sin remains (at least for a time) 
in all that are justified. 

~ " But, if sin remains in a believer, he is a sinful man : 
if pride, for instance, then he is proud; if self-will, then 
he is self-willed; if unbelief, then he is an unbeliever; 
consequently, no believer at all. How then does he 
differ from unbelievers, from unregenerate men ?" This 
is still mere playing upon words. It means no more 
than, If there is sin, pride, self-will in him, then — there 
is sin, pride, self-will. And this nobody can deny. In 
that sense then he is proud, or self-willed. But he is 
not proud or self-willed in the same sense that unbe- 
lievers are; that is, governed by pride or self-wih. 
Herein he differs from unregenerate men. They obey 
sin ; he does not. Flesh ^s in them both : but they 
" walk after the flesh j" he " walks after the Spirit." 

"But how can unbelief he in a believer?" That word 
has two meanings. It means either no faith, or little 
faith : either the absence of faith, or the weakness of it. 
In the former sense, unbelief is not in a believer ; in the 
latter, it h in all babes. Their faith is commonly mixed 
with doubt or fear j that is, in the latter sense, with un- 
belief. " Why are ye fearful," says our Lord, " O ye 
»f little faith V Again : " thou of little faith, where 


fore didst thou doubt 1" You see here was unbdief in 
believers ; little faith and much unbelief. 

13. "But this doctrine, that sin remains in a be- 
liever ; that a man may be in the favour of God, while 
he has sin in his heart, certainly tends to encourage 
men in sin." Understand the proposition right, and no 
such consequence follows. A man may be in God's 
favour though he feel sin ; but not if he yields to it. 
Having sin does not forfeit the favour of God ; giving 
way to sin does. Though the flesh in you "lust against 
the Spirit," you may still be a child of God; but if yon 
" walk after the flesh," you are a child of the devil. 
Now this doctrine does not encourage to obey sin, but to 
resist it with all our might. 

V. 1. The sum of all this is : There are in every por- 
sen, even after he is justified, twe centrary principles, 
nature and grace, termed by St. Paul the flesh and the 
Spirit. Hence, although even babes in Christ are sanc- 
tified, yet it is only in part. In a degree, according to 
the measure of their faith, they are spiritual ; yet, in a 
degree they are carnal. Accordingly, believers are con- 
tinually exhorted to watch against the flesh, as well as 
the world and the devil. And to this agrees the constant 
experience of the children of God. While they feel this 
witness in themselves, they feel a will not wholly re- 
signed to the will of God. They know they are in him ; 
and yet find a heart ready to depart from him, a prone- 
ness to evil in many instances, and a backwardness to 
that which is good. The contrary doctrine is wholly 
new ; never heard of in the church of Christ, from the 
time of his coming into the world, till the time of Count 
Zinzendorf : and it is attended with the most fatal con- 
sequences. It cuts off all watching against our evil 
nature ; against the Delilah which we are told is gone, 
though she is still lying in our bosom. It tears away 
the shield of weak believers, deprives them of their 
faith, and so leaves them exposed to all the assaults of 
the world, the flesh, and the devil. 

2. Let us, therefore, hold fast the sound doctrine 



•' once delivered to the saints," and delivered down bj 
them, with the written word, to all succeeding genera- 
tions, — that although we are renewed, cleansed, purified, 
sanctified, the moment we truly believe in Christ, yet 
we are net then renewed, cleansed, purified altogether ; 
but the flesh, the evil nature, still remains, (though sub- 
dued,) and wars against the Spirit. So much the more 
let us use all diligence in " fighting the good fight of 
faith." So much the more earnestly let us " watch and 

iiray" against the enemy within. The more carefully 
et us take to ourselves, and " put on the whole armour 
of God;" that, although " we wrestle" both "with flesh 
and blood, and with principalities, and powers, and 
wicked spirits in high places," we " may be able to with- 
stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.' 

16 18 

Q ■ * T0L. I. 


Ques. 1. (I. 1.) What is said of the importance of this 

Ques. 2. (I. 2.) Was this doctrine disputed in the early 

Ques. 3. (I. 3.) What does he quote from the Church of 

Ques. 4. (I. 4.) What is said of the Greek, Roman, and 
Reformed Churches of Europe? 

Ques. 5. (I. 4.) To what extreme was the doctrine carried? 

Ques. 6. (I. 5.) How did Zinzendorf avoid this extreme? 

Ques. 7. (I. 6.) How did some of the Germans modify his 

Ques. 8. (I. 7.) What course did the English Moravians 
pursue ? 

Ques. 9. (II. 1.) How are the words regenerate, justified, 
believers, used? 

Ques. 10. (II. 2.) What does Mr. Wesley mean by sin 

Ques. 11. (II. 3.) How is the true question stated? 

Ques. 12. (II. 4.) What is said of the state of a justified 
person ? 

Ques. 13. (III. 1.) Is he freed from it'll sin? 

Ques. 14. (III. 2.) What quotations are here made? 

Ques. 15. (III. 3.) What is said of the two conflicting 

Ques. 16. (III. 4.) What is said of the Church of Ephe- 

Ques. 17. (III. 5.) And of the Church of Pergamos? 



Ques. 18. (III. 6.) What is said of the apostle's exhorta- 

Ques. 19. (III. 7.) What is said of the experience of 

Ques. 20. (III. 8.) Can Christ and sin be in the same heart? 

Ques. 21. (III. 9.) Is the doctrine of Zinzendorf a new 

Ques. 22. (III. 10.) What further argument is used? 

Ques. 23. (IV. 1.) What is the first argument in favor of 
the doctrine of Zinzendorf? 

Ques. 24. (IV- 2.) What argument is based on the new 
creature in Christ Jesus? How is it answered? 

Ques. 25. (IV. 3.) What arguments are "playing upon 

Ques. 26. (IV 4.) What argument is founded on Komans 
viii. 1? 

Ques. 27. (IV. 5.) On Colossians i. 24? 

Ques. 28. (IV. 6.) On Hebrews xii. 22? 

Ques. 29. (IV. 7.) On reconciliation to God ? 

Ques. 30. (IV. 8.) OnGalatians v. 24? 

Ques. 31. (IV. 9.) What of the argument from experi- 

Ques. 32. (IV 10.) What is said of pride and anger? 

Ques. 33. (IV. 11.) What consequences are asserted? 

Ques. 34 (IV. 12.) What further argument is presented? 

Ques. 35. (IV 13.) Does the truth encourage sin ? 

Ques. 36. (V. 1, 2.) What is the sum of the argument? 


"This is another of the supplementary sermons/' says 
Burwash, " added twenty years after the publication of the 
preceding, and putting the truth already defended into a 
practical form. Discarding the Antinomian idea that we need 
not trouble ourselves about this inward sin — because (1) it 
cannot be removed; (2) it is not imputed to us; and (3) our 
holiness is complete in Christ without its removal — Mr. 
Wesley insists: 

"1. That a profound, searching conviction of this inward 
sin is an essential part of the experience of salvation; not 
a mere annoyance for which we may find compensation in 
the thought of a perfect imputed righteousness, but a work 
of grace leading us to a real full salvation. 

" 2. That the abiding faith by which a Christian lives in 
Christ is not a trust in an ideal perfect imputed righteous- 
ness, but a perception in Christ of saving power, able and 
willing to meet all the deep spiritual needs of our fallen 
nature. Religion is a real moral healing of the soul. 

"Both Wesley and the Moravians had united mysticism 
with the evangelical doctrine of faith. But the Moravian 
mysticism was quietist, standing still and waiting for inward 
manifestations; that of Wesley was ethical, scrutinizing the 
motives of an active life. The faith of the Moravians looked 
to an imputed righteousness; that of Wesley wrought out 
by love both inward and outward righteousness. But Wes- 
ley's faith rested at bottom only on the merits of Christ, and 
all his motives of holy life had their root in a profound in- 



ward manifestation of divine love. This great truth he 
learned from the Moravians; and here he and they agreed. 
But he expected the root to bud, and put forth branches, 
blossoms, and fruit. They were afraid the branches might 
impoverish the root." 

The primary meaning of repentance and faith. A subse- 
quent repentance and faith of somewhat different nature, 
but related, necessary to our continuance and growth in 

I. The repentance of believers is self-knowledge. The 
lack of this in the young Christian. Experience shows him — 
1. The remaining sin. (1) Of heart, pride, self-will, idol- 
atrous love of the world in its threefold form, affections con- 
trary to love, covetousness. Hence, sensible of these things, 
many apply the seventh of Romans to Christians. (2) Of 
words and acts — uncharitable and unprofitable conversation 
not here included, but useless discourse, mingled motives, 
spiritual pride. (3) Of omission. (4) Of defect. 2. The 
guiltiness of this. Were it not for the atoning blood, we 
must be condemned. 3. Our inability to remove either the 
sin or its desert before God. 

II. The faith of believers is: 1. A faith in the ability of 
Christ to meet these conscious wants. 2. A faith in the 
willingness of Christ to meet them now. 3. A continuous 
faith, by which we feel the power of Christ resting upon us 
every moment. 

III. Lessons. 1. Danger of the opinion that we are wholly 
sanctified when we are justified.' 2. The necessity of a further 
change. 3. The constant need of the atoning blood. 4. The 
need of living upon Christ by faith. 



" Rtpent ye, and believe the gotpel." — Mabk i. 16. 

1. It is generally supposed that repentance and 
faith are only the gate of religion ; that they are neces- 
Bary only at the beginning of our Christian course, 
when we are setting out in the way to the kingdom. 
And this may seem to be confirmed by the great apostle, 
where, exhorting the Hebrew Christians to " go on tc 
perfection," he teaches them to leave these " first prin- 
ciples of the doctrine of Christ ;" " not laying again the 
foundation of repentance frjm dead works, and of faith 
towards God;" which must at least mean, that they 
should comparatively leave these, that at first took up 
all their thoughts, in order to " press forward toward 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

2. And this is undoubtedly true, that there is a re 
pentance and a faith, which are more especially neces- 
sary at the beginning : a repentance, which is a convic 
tion of our utter sinfulness, and guiltiness, and helpless 
aess ; and which precedes our receiving that kingdom 
of God, which, our Lord observes, is " within us ;" and 
a faith, whereby we receive that kingdom, even " right 
eousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 

3. But, notwithstanding this, there is also a repent- 
ance and a faith (taking the words in another sense, a 
sense not quite the same, nor yet entirely different) 
which are requisite after we have " believed the gos- 
pel ;" yea, and in every subsequent stage of our Chris- 
tian course, or we cannot " run the race which is so* 


before us." And this repentance and faith are full as 
necessary, in order to our continuance and growth in 
•race, as the former faith and repentance were, in order 
to our entering into the kingdom of God. 

But in what sense are we to repent and believe, after 
ire are justified ? This is an important question, and 
*orthy of being considered with the utmost attention. 
* I And, first, in what sense are we to repent? 

1. Repentance frequently means an inward change, a 
change of mind from sin to holiness. But we now speak 
of it in a quite different sense, as it is one kind of self- 
knowledge, the knowing ourselves sinners, yea, guilty, 
helpless sinners, even though we know we are children 
of God. 

2. Indeed, when we first know this ; when we first 
find redemption in the blood of Jesus ; when the love 
of God is first shed abroad in our hearts, and his king- 
dom set up therein ; it is natural to suppose that we 
are no longer sinners, that all our sins are not only 
upvered, but destroyed. 

As we do not then feel any evil in our hearts, we 
readily imagine none is there. Nay, some well-meaning 
men have imagined this not only at that time, but evei 
after; having persuaded themselves, that when they 
were justified, they were entirely sanctified : yea, they 
have laid it down as a general rule, in spite of Scripture, 
reason, and experience. These sincerely believe, and 
earnestly maintain, that all sin is destroyed when we 
are justified ; and that there is no sin in the heart of a 
believer; but that it is altogether clean from that mo- 
ment. But though we readily acknowledge, " he that 
believeth is born of God," and " he that is born of God 
doth not commit sin ;" yet we cannot allow that he does 
not fed it within : it does not reign, but it does remain 
And a conviction of the sin which remains in our heart, 
is one great branch of the repentance we are now speak- 
ing of. 

3. For it is seldom long before he who imagined all 
un was pone, feels there is still pride in his heart. He 


is convinced both that in many respects he has thought 
of himself more highly than he ought to think, and that 
he has taken to himself the praise of something he had 
r eceived, and gloried in it as though he had not received 
it ; and yet he knows he is in the favour of God. He 
oannot, and ought not to, " cast away his confidence." 
■ ( The Spirit" still " witnesses with" his " spirit, that 
he is a child of God." 

4. Nor is it long before he feels self-will in his heart ; 
even a will contrary to the will of God. A will every 
man must inevitably have, as long as he has an under- 
standing. This is an essential part of human nature ; 
indeed of the nature of every intelligent being. Our 
blessed Lord himself had a will as a man ; otherwise he 
had not been a man. But his human will was invaria- 
bly subject to the will of his Father. At all times, 
and on all occasions, even in the deepest affliction, he 
could say, " Not as I will, but as thou wilt." But this 
is not the case at all times, even with a true believer in 
Christ. He frequently finds his will more or less exalt- 
ing itself against the will of God. He wills something, 
because it is pleasing to nature, which is not pleasing to 
God : and he nills (is averse from) something, because 
it is painful to nature, which is the will of God concern- 
ing him. Indeed, suppose he continues in the faith, he 
fights against it with all his might : but this very thing 
implies that it really exists, and that he is conscious of it. 

5. Now self-will, as well as pride, is a species of idol- 
atry ; and both are directly contrary to the love of God 
The same observation may be made concerning the 
love of (he world. But this likewise even true be- 
lievers are liable to feel in themselves ; and every one 
of them does feel it, more or less, sooner or later, in one 
branch or another. It is true, when he first " passes 
from death unto life," he desires nothing more but God. 
He can truly say, " All my desire is unto thee, and untc 
the remembrance of thy name :" " Whom have I iD 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that 1 
desire beside thee." But it is not so always. In pn 


jess of time he will feel again, though perhaps only foi 
a few moments, either "the desire of the flesh," or "th« 
lesire of the eye," or " the pride of life." Nay, if he 
does not continually watch and pray, he may find lust 
reviving ; yea, and thrusting sore at him that he may 
fall, till he has scarce any strength left in him. He may 
feel the assaults of inordinate affection ; yea, a strong 
propensity to " love the creature more than the Creator; 
whether it be a child, a parent, a husband or wife, or 
"the friend that is as his own soul." He may feel, 
in a thousand various ways, a desire of earthly things 
or pleasures. In the same proportion he will forget 
God, not seeking his happiness in him, and conse- 
quently being a " lover of pleasure more than a lover 
of God." 

6. If he does not keep himself every moment, he will 
iigain feel the desire of the eye ; the desire of gratifying 

his imagination with something great, or beautiful, or 
uncommon. In how many ways does this desire assault 
the soul ! Perhaps with regard to the poorest trifles, 
such as dress or furniture; things never designed to 
satisfy the appetite of an immortal spirit. Yet, how 
natural is it for us, even after we have " tasted of the 
powers of the world to come," to sink again into these 
foolish, low desires of things that perish in the using ! 
How hard is it, even for those who know in whom they 
have believed, to conquer but one branch of the desire 
of the eye, curiosity ; constantly to trample it under 
their feet ; to desire nothing merely because it is new ! 

7. And how hard it is even for the children of God 
wholly to conquer the pride of life ! St. John seems to 
mean by this nearly the same with what the world terms 
" the sense of honour." This is no other than a desire 
of, and delight in, " the honour that cometh of men," a 
desire and love of praise ; and, which is always joined 
with it, a proportionable fear of dispraise. Nearly allied 
to this is evil shame ; the being ashamed of that wherein 
we ought to glory. And this is seldom divided from the 
fear of man, which brings a thousand snares upon the 


goul Now where is he, even among those that seem 
strong in faith, who does not find in himself a degree of 
all these evil tempers ? So that even these are but in 
part " crucified to the world ;" for the evil root still 
remaius in their heart. 

8. And do we not feel other tempers which are as 
contrary to the love of our neighbour as these are to the 
love of God ? The love of our neighbour " thinketh 
no evil." Do not we find any thing of the kind ? 
Do we never find any jealousies, any evil surmising*, 
any groundless or unreasonable suspicions ? He that 
is clear in these respects, let him cast the first stone at 
his neighbour. Who does not sometimes feel other 
tempers or inward motions, which he knows are con- 
trary to brotherly love ? If nothing of malice, hatred, 
or bitterness, is there no touch of envy; particularly 
toward those who enjoy some real or supposed good, 
which we desire, but cannot attain ? Do we never find 
any degree of resentment, when we are injured or af- 
fronted ; especially by those whom we peculiarly loved, 
and whom we had most laboured to help or oblige? 
Does injustice or ingratitude never excite in us any 
desire of revenge? any desire of returning evil for evil, 
instead of "overcoming evil with good?" This also 
shows, how much is still in our heart, which is contrary 
to the love of our neighbour. 

9. Covetousness, in every kind and degree, is certainly 
as contrary to this as to the love of God; whether 
faopyupto, the love of money, which is too frequently 
" the root of all evil ;" or *Xf wt| t a, literally, a desire 
of having more, or increasing in substance. And how 
few, even of the real children of God, are entirely free 
from both ! Indeed, one great man, Martin Luther, used 
to say, be " never had any covetousness in him" (not 
only in his converted state, but) " ever since he was 
born." But, if so, I would not scruple to say, ho was 
the only man born of a woman, (except him that wan 
God as well as man,) who had not, who was born with- 
out it. Nay, I believe, never was any one born of God. 


that lived any considerable time after, who did not feei 
more or less of it many times, especially in the latter 
sense. Wc may therefore set it down as an undoubted 
troth, that covetousness, together with pride, and self- 
will, and anger, remain in the hearts even of them that 
are justified. 

10. It is their experiencing this, which has inclined 
to many serious persons to understand the latter part cf 
the seventh chapter to the Romans, not of them that 
are " under the law," that are convinced of sin, which 
ib undoubtedly the meaning of the apostle, but of them 
that are " under grace j" that are " justified freely 
through the redemption that is in Christ." And it is 
most certain, they are thus far right : — there does still 
remain, even in them that are justified, a mind which is 
in some measure carnal; (so the apostle tells even the 
believers at Corinth, " Ye are carnal ;") a heart bent 
to backsliding, still ever ready to "depart from the 
living Cod ;" a propensity to pride, self-will, anger, re- 
venge, love of the world, yea, and all evil ; a root of 
bitterness, which, if the restraint were taken off for a 
moment, would instantly spring up ; yea, such a depth 
of corruption, as, without clear light from Cod, we can- 
not possibly conceive. And a conviction of all this sin 
remaining in their hearts is the repentance which belongs 
to them that are justified. 

11. But we should likewise be convinced, that as sin 
remains in our hearts, so it cleaves to all our words and 
actions. Indeed it is to be feared, that many r f our 
words are more than mixed with sin ; that they are sin- 
ful altogether : for such undoubtedly is all uncharitable 
eaaversation : all which does not spring from brotherly 
love ; all which does not agree with that golden rule, 
"What ye would that others should do to you, even so 
do unto them." Of this kind is all backbiting, all 
tale-bearing, all whispering, all evil-speaking, that is, 
repeating the faults of absent persons ; for none would 
b*?e others repeat his faults when he is absent. Now, 
how few are there, even among believers, who are in 


no degree guilty of this ; who steadily observe the good 
old rule, "Of the dead and the absent, nothing but 
good I" And suppose they do, do they likewise abstain 
from unprofitable conversation, f Yet all this is unques- 
tionably sinful, and " grieves the Holy Spirit of God :" 
yea, and " for every idle word that men shall speak, 
they shall give an account in the day of judgment." 

12. But let it be supposed that they continually 
" watch and pray," and so do " not enter into" this 
" temptation ;" that they constantly set a watch before 
their mouth, and keep the door of their lips ; suppose 
they exercise themselves herein that all their " conver- 
sation may be in grace, seasoned with salt, and meet to 
minister grace to the hearers :" yet do they not daily 
slide into useless discourse, notwithstanding all their 
caution ? And even when they endeavour to speak for 
God, are their words pure, free from unholy mixtures? 
Do they find nothing wrong in their very intention f 
Do they speak merely to please God, and not partly to 
please themselves ? Is it wholly to do the will of God, 
and not their own will also ? Or, if they begin with a 
single eye, do they go on " looking unto Jesus," and 
talking with Him all the time they are talking with 
their neighbour ? When they are reproving sin, do they 
feel no anger or unkind temper to the sinner ? When 
they are instructing the ignorant, do they not find any 
pride, any self-preference ? When they are comforting 
the afflicted, or provoking one another to love and to 
good works, do they never perceive any inward self- 
commendation, — " Now you have spoke well?" or any 
vanity, — a desire that others should think so, and es- 
teem them on the account ? In some or all of these 
respects, how much sin cleaves to the best conversation 
even of believers ! The conviction of which is another 
branch of the repentance which belongs to them that 
are justified. 

13. And how much sin, if their conscience is tho- 
roughly awake, may they find cleaving to their action* 
hlao I Nay, are there not many of these, which, though 


they are such as the world would not condemn, yet can 
oot be commended, no, nor excused, if we judge by the 
word of God? Are there not many of their actions 
which, they themselves know, are not to the glory of 
God 1 many, wherein they did not even aim at this ; 
which were not undertaken with an eye to God ? And 
of those that were, are there not many, wherein their 
eye is not singly fixed on God ? wherein they are doing 
their own will, at least as much as His ; and seeking to 
please themselves as much, if not more, than to please 
God ? — And while they are endeavouring to do good to 
their neighbour, do they not feel wrong tempers of 
various kinds ? Hence, their good actions, so called, are 
far from being strictly such ; being polluted with such a 
mixture of evil : such are their works of mercy. And 
is there not the same mixture in their works of piety ? 
While they are hearing the word which is able to save 
their souls, do they not frequently find such thoughts as 
make them afraid lest it should turn to their condemna- 
tion, rather than their salvation ? Is it not often the 
same case, while they are endeavouring to offer up their 
prayers to God, whether in public or private ? Nay, 
while they are engaged in the most solemn service, even 
while they are at the table of the Lord, what manner 
of thoughts arise in them ! Are not their hearts some- 
times wandering to the ends of the earth j sometimes 
filled with such imaginations as make them fear lest all 
their sacrifice should be an abomination to the Lord '( 
So that they are now more ashamed of their best duties 
than they were once of their worst sins. 

14. Again : how many sins of omission are they 
chargeable with ! We know the words of the apostle : 
" To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to 
him it is sin." But do they not know a thousand in- 
stances, wherein they might have done good, to enemies, 
to strangers, to their brethren, either with regard to 
their bodies or their souls, and they did it not ? How 
many omissions have they been guilty of, in their dut> 
toward God t How many opportunities of communi 


eating, of hearing his word, of public or private prayer, 
have they neglected ! So great reason had even that 
holy man, Archbishop Usher, after all his labours foi 
God, to cry out, almost with his dying breath, " Lord, 
forgive me my sins of omission !" 

15. But besides these outward omissions, may they 
not find in themselves inward defects without number? 
defects of every kind. They have not the love, the fear, 
the confidence they ought to have, toward God. They 
have not the love which is due to their neighbour, to 
every child of man ; no, nor even that which is due to 
their brethren, to every child of God, whether those that 
are at a distance from them, or those with whom they 
are immediately connected. They have no holy tempei 
in the degree they ought ; they are defective in every 
thing ; — in a deep consciousness of which, they are ready 
to cry out, with M. De Renty, " I am a ground all over- 
run with thorns ;" or, with Job, " I am vile : I abhor 
myself, and repent as in dust and ashes." 

16. A conviction of their guiltiness is another branch 
of that repentance which belongs to the children of 
God. But this is cautiously to be understood, and in a 
peculiar sense. For it is certain, " there is no condem- 
nation to them that are in Christ Jesus," that believe in 
him, and in the power of that faith, " walk not after 
the flesh, but after the Spirit." Yet can they no more 
bear the strict justice of God now, than before they be- 
lieved. This pronounces them to be still worthy of 
death, on all the preceding accounts. And it would ab- 
solutely condemn them thereto, were it not for the 
atoning blood. Therefore they are thoroughly convinced, 
that they still deserve punishment, although it is hereby 
turned aside from them. But here there are extremes 
on one hand and on the other, and few steer clear of 
them. Most men strike on one or the other, either 
thinking themselves condemned when they are not, or 
thinking they deserve to be acquitted. Nay, the truth 
lies between : they still deserve, strictly speaking, only 

the damnation of hell But what they deserve does no* 



eome upon them, because they " hare an Advocate with 
the Father." His life, and death, and intercession still 
interpose between them and condemnation. 

17. A conviction of their utter helplessness is yet 
another branch of this repentance. I mean hereby two 
things : first, that they are no more able now of them' 
selves to think one good thought, to form one good de- 
sire, to speak one good word, or do one good work, than 
before they were justified ; that they have still no kind 
or degree of strength of their own ; no power either to 
do good, or resist evil ; no ability to conquer or even 
withstand the world, the devil, or their own evil nature. 
They can, it is certain, do all these things ; but it is not 
by their own strength. They have power to overcome 
all these enemies ; for " sin hath no more dominion over 
them :" but it is not from nature, either in whole or in 
part j it is the mere gift of God : nor is it given all at 
once, as if they had a stock laid up for many years ; but 
from moment to moment. 

18. By this helplessness I mean, secondly, an abso- 
lute inability to deliver ourselves from that guiltiness or 
desert of punishment whereof we are still conscious ; 
yea, and an inability to remove, by all the grace we have, 
(to say nothing of our natural powers,) either the pride, 
self-will, love of the world, anger, and general proneness 
to depart from God, which we experimentally know to 
remain in the heart, even of them that are regenerate ; 
or the evil which, in spite of all our endeavours, cleaves 
to all our words and actions. Add to this, an utter in- 
ability wholly to avoid uncharitable, and, much more, un- 
profitable, conversation ; and an inability to avoid sins 
of omission, or to supply the numberless defects we are 
convinced of; especially the want of love, and other 
right tempers both to God and man. 

19. If any man is not satisfied of this, if any believe* 
that whoever is justified is able to remove these sins out 
of his heart and life, let him make the experiment. Let 
him try wbrther, by the grace he has already received. 
He can expel pride, self-will, or inbred sin in general 


Let him try whether he can cleanse his words and ao 
tions from all mixture of evil j whether he can avoid all 
uncharitable and unprofitable conversation, with all the 
sins of omission ; and, lastly, whether he can supply the 
numberless defects -which he still finds in himself. Let 
him not be discouraged by one or two experiments, but 
repeat the trial again and again ; and the longer he tries, 
the more deeply will he be convinced of his utter help- 
lessness in all these respects. 

20. Indeed, this is so evident a truth, that wellnigh 
all the children of God scattered abroad, however they 
differ in other points, yet generally agree in this ; — that 
although we may, " by the Spirit, mortify the deeds of 
the body ;" resist and conquer both outward and inward 
sin ; although we may weaken our enemies day by day ; 
yet we cannot drive them out. By all the grace which is 
given at justification we cannot extirpate them. Though 
we watch and pray ever so much, we cannot wholly 
cleanse either our hearts or hands. Most sure we can- 
not, till it shall please our Lord to speak to our hearts 
again, to speak the second time, " Be clean :" and then 
only, the leprosy is cleansed. Then only, the evil root, 
the carnal mind, is destroyed ; and inbred sin subsists 
no more. But if there be no such second change, if 
there be no instantaneous deliverance after justification, 
if there be none but a gradual work of God, (that there 
is a gradual work none denies,) then we must be con- 
tent, as well as we can, to remain full of sin till death ; 
and, if so, we must remain guilty till death, continually 
deserving punishment. For it is impossible the guilt or 
desert of punishment should be removed from us, as 
long as all this sin remains in our heart, and cleaves to 
our words and actions. Nay, in rigorous justice, all we 
think, and speak, and act, continually increases it. 

II. 1. In this sense we are to repent, after we are 
jnstified. And till we do so, we can go no farther. For, 
till we are sensible of our disease, it admits of no oure 
But, supposing we do thus repent, then are we call ad to 
" believe the gospel." 


2. And this also is to be understood in a peculiai 
sense, different from that wherein we believed in ordei 
to justification. Believe the glad tidings of great sal- 
vation, which God hath prepared for all people. Be- 
lieve that he who is " the brightness of his Father's 
glory, the express image of his person," is "able to 
gave, unto the uttermost, all that come unto God through 
him." He is able to save you from all the sin that still 
remains in your heart. He is able to save you from all 
the sin that cleaves to all your words and actions. He 
is able to save you from sins of omission, and to supply 
whatever is wanting in you. It is true this is impossi- 
ble with man; but with God-man all things are possible 
For what can be too hard for Him who hath " all power 
in heaven and in earth ?" Indeed, his bare power to do 
this is not a sufficient foundation for our faith that he 
will do it, that he will thus exert his power, unless he 
hath promised it. But this he has done : he has pro- 
mised it over and over, in the strongest terms. He has 
given us these " exceeding great and precious promises," 
both in the Old and the New Testament. So we read 
in the law, in the most ancient part of the oracles ol 
God, " The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and 
the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul." (Deut. xxx. 6.) So 
in the Psalms, " He shall redeem Israel," the Israel of 
God, " from all his sins." So in the prophet, " Then 
will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be 
clean : from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, 
will I cleanse you. And I will put my Spirit within 
you, and ye shall keep my .judgments and do them. I 
will also save you from all your uncleannesses." (Ezek. 
xxxvi. 25, &c.) So likewise in the New Testament, 
" Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he hath visited 
tnd redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of 
salvation for us, — to perform the oath which he sware t» 
our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that 
we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, 
ihould serve him without fear, in holiness and rightcou* 
U 19 R VOL. I. ■ 2 


ness before him all the days of our life." Luke i. 
68, &c.) 

3. You have therefore good reason to believe, he u 
not only able, but willing to do this; to cleanse yon 
from all your filthiness of flesh and spirit; to "save you 
from all your uncleannesses." This is the thing which 
you now long for ; this is the faith which you now par- 
ticularly need, namely, that the Great Physician, the 
lover of my soul, is willing to make me clean. But « 
he willing to do this to-morrow, or to-day ? Let him 
answer for himself : " To-day, if ye will hear" my 
" voice, harden not your hearts." If you put it off till 
to-morrow, you harden your hearts ; you refuse to hcai 
his voice. Believe, therefore, that he is willing to save 
you to-day. He is willing to save you now. " Behold, 
now is the accepted time." He now saith, " Be thou 
clean !" Only believe, and you also will immediately 
find " all things are possible to him that believeth." 

4. Continue to believe in him that loved thee, and 
gave himself for thee ; that bore all thy sins in his own 
body on the tree ; and he saveth thee from all condem- 
nation, by his blood continually applied. Thus it is 
that we continue in a justified state. And when we go 
on " from faith to faith," when we have faith to be 
oleansed from indwelling sin, to be saved from all our 
uncleannesses, we are likewise saved from all that yuilt, 
that desert of punishment, which we felt before. So 
that then we may say, not only, 

"Bveiy moment, Lord, I want 
The merit of thy death;" 

but, likewise, in the full assirance of faith, 

"' Every moment, Lord, I have 
The merit of thy death !" 

For, by that faith in his life, death, and intercession foi 
u, renewed from moment to moment, we are every whi* 


clean, and there is not only now no condemnation for 
as, but no such desert of punishment as was before, the 
Lord cleansing both our hearts and lives. 

5. By the same faith we feel the power of Christ 
every moment resting upon us, whereby alone we are 
what we are ; whereby we are enabled to continue in 
spiritual life; and without which, notwithstanding all 
our present holiness, we should be devils the next mo- 
ment. But as long as we retain our faith in him, we 
u draw water out of the wells of salvation." Leaning 
on our Beloved, even Christ in us the hope of glory, who 
dwelleth in our hearts by faith, who likewise is ever in- 
terceding for us at the right hand of God, we receive 
help from him to think, and speak, and act, what is ac- 
ceptable in his sight. Thus does he " prevent" them 
that believe, in all their "doings, and further them 
with his continual help :" so that all their designs, con- 
versations, and actions are " begun, continued, and ended 
in him." Thus doth he " cleanse the thoughts of their 
hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, that they 
may perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his holy 

6. Thus it is, that in the children of God, repentance 
and faith exactly answer each other. By repentance we 
feel the sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to our 
words and actions : by faith we receive the power of 
God in Christ, purifying our hearts, and cleansing our 
hands. By repentance we are still sensible that we de- 
serve punishment for all our tempers, and words, and 
actions : by faith, we are conscious that our Advocate 
with the Father is continually pleading for us, and there- 
by continually turning aside all condemnation and pu- 
nishment from us. By repentance we have an abiding 
conviction that there is no help in us : by faith we re- 
ceive not only mercy, "but grace to help in" every " timt 
of need." Repentance disclaims the very possibility ol 
any other help : faith accepts all the help we stand in 
need of from Him that hath all power in heaven ana 
wth. Repentance says, " Without him I can do no- 


thing :" faith says, " I can do all things through Chrisi 
strengthening me." Through Him I can not only over- 
come, but expel, all the enemies of my soul. Through 
Him I can " love the Lord my God with all my heart, 
mind, soul, and strength;" yea, and "walk in holiness 
and righteousness before him all the days of my life." 

III. 1. From what has been said, we may easily 
learn the mischievousness of that opinion, — that we are 
wholly sanctified when we are justified ; that our hearts 
are then cleansed from all sin. It is true, we are then 
delivered, as was observed before, from the dominion of 
outward sin; and, at the same time, the power of to- 
ward sin is so broken, that we need no longer follow, or 
be led by, it : but it is by no means true, that inward 
sin is then totally destroyed ; that the root of pride, 
self-will, anger, love of the world, is then taken out of 
the heart ; or that the carnal mind, and the heart bent 
to backsliding, are entirely extirpated. And to suppose 
the contrary, is not, as some may think, an innocent, 
harmless mistake. No : it does immense harm : it en- 
tirely blocks up the way to any further change ; for it is 
manifest, " they that are whole need not a physician, 
but they that are sick." If, therefore, we think we are 
quite made whole already, there is no room to seek any 
further healing. On this supposition, it is absurd to 
expect a further deliverance from sin, whether gradual 
or instantaneous. 

2. On the contrary, a deep conviction that we are 
not yet whole ; that our hearts are not fully purified ; 
that there is yet in us a " carnal mind," which is still 
in its nature " enmity against God ;" that a whole body 
of sin remains in our heart, weakened indeed, but not 
destroyed ; shows, beyond all possibility of doubt, the 
absolute necessity of a further change. We allow, that 
at the very moment of justification, we are horn again : 
in that instant we experience that inward change from 
" darkness into marvellous light ;" from the image of 
the brute and the devil, into the image of God ; fron 
the earthly, sensual, devilish mind, to the mind whiok 



was in Christ Jesus. But are we then entirely changed ? 
Are we wholly transformed into the image of him that 
created us ? Far from it : we still retain a depth of sin; 
and it is the consciousness of this which constrains us to 
groan, for a full deliverance, to Him that is mighty to 
save. Hence it is, that those believers who are not 
oonvinced of the deep corruption of their hearts, or but 
•lightly, and as it were notionally, convinced, have little 
concern about entire sanctification. They may possibly 
hold the opinion, that such a thing is to be, either at 
death, or some time, they know not when, before it. But 
they have no great uneasiness for the want of it, and no 
great hunger or thirst after it. They cannot, until they 
know themselves better, until they repent in the sense 
above described, until. G-od unveils the inbred monster's 
face, and shows them the real state of their souls. Then 
only, when they feel the burden, will they groan for de- 
liverance from it. Then, and not till then, will they 
ory out, in the agony of their soul, 

" Break off the yoke of inbred sin, 
And fully set my spirit free I 
I cannot rest till pure within, 
Till I am wholly lost in thee." 

3. We may learn from hence, secondly, that a deep 
conviction of our demerit, after we are accepted, (which, 
in one sense, may be termed guilt,') is absolutely neces- 
sary, in order to our seeing the true value of the atoning 
blood ; in order to our feeling that we need this as much, 
after we are justified, as ever we did before. Without 
this conviction we cannot but account the blood of the 
covenant as a common thing ; something of which we 
have not now any great need, seeing all our past sins are 
blotted out. Yea, but if both our hearts and lives are 
thus unclean, there is a kind of guilt which we are con- 
tracting every moment, and which, of consequence, 
would every moment expose us to fresh condemnation, 
but that— 


" He ever lives above, 
For us to intercede, — 
His all-atoning love, 
His precious blood, to plead." 

[t is this repentance, and the faith intimately connected 
with it, which are expressed in those strong lines, — 

" I sin in every breath I draw, 
Nor do thy will, nor keep thy law 

On earth, as angels do above : 
But still the fountain open stands, 
Washes my feet, my heart, my hands, 
Till I am perfected in love." 

4. We may observe, thirdly, a deep conviction of our 
utter helplessness, of our total inability to retain any 
thing we have received, much more to deliver ourselves 
from the world of iniquity remaining both in our hearts 
and lives, teaches us truly to live upon Christ by faith, 
not only as our Priest, but as our King. Hereby we 
are brought to " magnify him," indeed; to " give him all 
the glory of his grace ;" to " make him a whole Christ, 
an entire Saviour ; and truly to set the crown upon his 
head." These excellent words, as they have frequently 
beep used, have little or no meaning ; but they are ful- 
filled in a strong and deep sense, when we thus, as it 
were, go out of ourselves, in order to be swallowed up 
in him ; when we sink into nothing, that He may be ill 
in all. Then, his almighty grace having abolished " evwry 
high thing which exalted itself against him," ev«y 
temper, and thought, and word, and work, is brought to 
the obedience of Christ." 

Lomdohdbbrt, April 24, 1767. 



Bl it according to thy word ; 

This moment let it be ! 
0! that I now, my gracious Lord, 

Might lose my life for thee ! 

Now, Jesus, le* thy powerful death 

Into my being come ; 
Slay the old Adam with thy breath ; 

The man of sin consume. 

Withhold whate'er my flesh reQuirat 
Poison my pleasant food; 

Spoil my delights, my vain designs, 
My all of creature-good. 

My old affections mortify ; 

Nail to the cross my will ; 
Daily and hourly bid me die, 

Or altogether kill. 

Jesus, my life, appear within, 
And bruise the Serpent's head; 

Enter my soul, extirpate sin, 
Cast out the cursed seed. 

0! let it now make haste to die, 
The mortal wound receive : 

So shall I live ; and yet not I, 
But Christ in me, shall liye. 


Ques. 1. (f 1.) What is said of repentance and faith? 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) What is undoubtedly true? 

Ques. 3. (ft 3.) What of the subsequent repentance and 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What is frequently meant by repentance? 

Ques. 5. (I. 2.) What is here said would be natural to sup- 

Ques. 6. (1. 2.) What error is here mentioned? 

Ques. 7. (I. 2.) Can sin exist without reigning? 

Ques. 8. (I. 3.) What is said of pride in the heart? 

Ques. 9. (T. 4.) And of self-will? 

Ques. 10. (I. 5.) Of what is self-will a species? What is 
idolatry ? 

Ques. 11. (I. 6.) What follows if one does not keep him- 

Ques. 12. (I. 7.) What is said of conquering the pride of 

Ques. 13. (I. 8.) Do we find other evil tempers? 

Ques. 14. (I. 9.) What is said of eovetousness? 

Ques. 15. (I. 10.) Does the latter part of Romans vii. have 
any reference to regenerate persons? if so, whatf? 

Ques. 1G. (I. 11.) What is said of words mixed with sin? 
What examples are given? 

Ques. 17. (I. 12.) What is said of useless discourse? 

Ques. 18. (I. 13.) What is said of sin cleaving to action§ 

Ques. 19. (I. 14.) And of sins of omission? 

Ques. 20. (I. 15.) What of inward defects? 
6 290 


Ques. 21. (I. 16.) What forms another branch of repent- 


Ques. 22. (1. 17.) And still another? 

Ques. 23. (I. 18.) What is meant by helplessness? 

Ques. 24. (I. 19.) What experiment is here spoken of? 

Ques. 25. (I. 20.) In what respect do almost all Christians 

Ques. 26. (II. 1.) What is said of repentance after justifi- 

Ques. 27. (II. 2.) What peculiar sense does it have? 

Ques. 28. (II. 3.) What are we assured God is willing to 
do for us ? 

Ques. 29. (II. 4.) What exhortation follows here ? 

Ques. 30. (II. 5.) How do we feel the power of Christ? 

Ques. 31. (II. 6.) How do repentance and faith stand to- 
ward each other ? 

Ques. 32. (III. 1.) What may we easily learn from the 
foregoing ? 

Ques. 33. (III. 2.) What deep conviction have we? 

Ques. 34. (III. 3.) What do we learn secondly? 

Ques. 35. (III. 4.) What may we observe thirdly? 


" This is another of the sermons added in Mr. Wesley's 
final edition of the standard sermons. It is entirely free 
from dogmatic controversy," says Prof. Burwash, " and is an 
admirable example of Mr. Wesley's power to improve spe- 
cial occasions for the purpose of impressing divine truth on 
the minds of the people. It contains many opinions and 
forms of exposition which the author himself would be 
far from pressing as authoritative. It generally recites the 
language of Scripture; not therefore implying that this 
language is to be understood in a baldly literal sense, but 
leaving the interpretation to the day when God shall de- 
clare it. 

" But this manner of preaching is of authority. And it 
evidently includes the following fundamental elements of 
doctrine : 

" 1. An unequivocal belief in a definite final judgment at 
the end of the present world. 2. A universal resurrection 
both of the just and the unjust preceding this. 3. A final and 
irrevocable separation between the righteous and the wicked. 
4. That the basis of these sentences will be deeds of this 
life. 5. That the final estates thus determined will be im- 
mutable and eternal. 

"To change any one of these propositions would be to 
destroy the entire significance and force of Mr. Wesley's 
preaching. In fact, these dogmas enter into the very essence 
of his doctrine far more profoundly than they can in any 
system in which an antecedent decree of God really fixes 



the final estates. In such a system there might be room for 
universalism or restorationism, but here none." 

It is worthy of remark that Mr. Wesley was invited, after 
the sermon, to dine with Sir Edward Olive. This invita- 
tion was declined because of an appointment at Epworth the 
following night. He mounted his horse and rode thirty 
miles that day, and on Saturday, over execrable roads, trav- 
eled ninety miles in seventeen hours through rain and sleet. 
And this when he was in his fifty-sixth year! 


The solemnity of the present occasion and its outward 
expression. The far more awful solemnity of the final judg- 
ment. The effect which it should have on human society. 

I. The circumstances preceding the judgment. The pre- 
ceding signs. The general resurrection, which will be uni- 
versal. The gathering of the elect and of all nations. 

II. The judgment itself. 

The Son of God is the Judge. The time called the day 
of the Lord may be of long duration ; the plan not defined. 
The persons judged: all mankind, without exception, indi- 
vidually, and for all the acts, words, and thoughts. The 
righteous as well as the wicked impartially judged in light 
of all their deeds. The final sentences immutable. 

III. The circumstances which follow : 

1. The execution of the sentences. The passing away of 
the present order of things. This is not beyond the power 
of God. The new order of nature, in which sin shall be 
abolished with all its results, and holiness be universal. 

IV. Application. 

1. To the Judge. The honor and responsibility of his 
office. 2. To the officers. Their duty to God, to the king, and 
to the principles of justice. 3. To the entire assembly, sol- 
emnly calling them before the bar of God to meet the wit- 
ness of their own conscience. 




Preached at the Assizes held before the Honourable Sir JMwari 
Olive, Knight, one of the Judges of His Majesty's Court of Com- 
mon Pleas, in St. Paul's Church, Bedford, on Friday, Mtroh !• 
1758 ; published at the request of William Cole, Esq, High Sheriff 
of the county, and others. 

" We ihall all Hand be/ore the Judgment teat of Chritt." 
Romans xiv. 10. 

1. How many circumstances concur to raise the &w- 
fulness of the present solemnity ! — the general amcourte 
of people of every age, sex, rank, and condition of life, 
willingly or unwillingly gathered together, not only from 
the neighbouring, but from distant parts; criminal*, 
speedily to be brought forth, and having no way to es- 
cape ; officers, waiting in their various posts, to execute 
the orders which shall be given ; and the representative 
of our gracious Sovereign, whom we so highly reverence 
and honour. The occasion likewise of this assembly 
adds not a little to the solemnity of it : to hear ana 
determine causes of every kind, some of which are of 
the most important nature ; on which depends no less 
than life or death,— death that uncovers the face of eter- 
nity ! It was, doubtless, in order to increase the serious 
sense of these things, and not in the minds of the vulgar 
only, that the wisdom of our forefathers did not disdain 
to appoint even several minute circumstances of thi» 
solemnity. For these also, by means of the eye or ear, 
may more deeply affect the heart : and when viewed in 
this light, trumpets, staves, apparel, are no longer tri- 
fling or insignificant, but subservient, in their kmd and 
degree, to the most valuable ends of society. 

2. But, as awful as this solemnity is, one far more 
awful is at hand. For yet a little while, and we " »haU 



ill stand before the judgment-seat of Christ." " For, 
Ab I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, 
and every tongue shall confess to God." And in that day, 
"every one of us shall give account of himself to God." 

3. Had all men a deep sense of this, how effectually 
would it secure the interests of society ! For what 
more forcible motive can be conceived to the practice of 
genuine morality ? to a steady pursuit of solid virtue ? 
an uniform walking in justice, mercy, and truth ? What 
sould strengthen our hands in all that is good, and deter 
as from all evil, like a strong conviction of this, " The 
Judge standeth at the door ;" and we are shortly to 
.tand before him? 

4. It may not therefore be improper, or unsuitable to 
the design of the present assembly, to consider, 

I. The chief circumstances which will precede out 
standing before the judgment-seat of Christ ; 

II. The judgment itself; and, 

III. A few of the circumstances which will follow it. 

1. Let us, in the first place, consider the chief cir- 
cumstances which will precede our standing before the 
judgment-seat of Christ. 

And, first, God will show "signs in the earth be- 
neath;" (Acts ii. 19;) particularly he will "arise to 
shake terribly the earth." "The earth shall reel to 
and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like s 
oottage." (Isai. xxiv. 20.) "There shall be earth- 
quakes," xata toitovi (not in divers only, but) u in aH 
places;" not in one only, or a few, but in every part of 
the habitable world; (Luke xxi. 11;) even "such <*& 
were not since men were upon the earth, so mighty 
earthquakes and so great." In one of these, " every 
island shall flee away, and the mountains will not he 
found." (Rev. xvi. 20.) Meantime all the waters of 
the terraqueous globe will feel the violence of those 
concussions ; " the sea and waves roaring," (Luke xxi. 
25,) with such an agitation as had never been known 
bcfoie, since the hour that " the fountains of the great 
deep were broken up," to destroy the earth, which then 


u stood out of the water and in the water." The aii 
will be all storm and tempest, full of dark vapours and 
pillars of smoke ; (Joel ii. 30 ;) resounding with 
thunder from pole to pole, and torn with ten thousand 
lightnings. But the commotion will not stop in the 
region of the air : " the powers of heaven also thall be 
shaken. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the 
moon, and in the stars '" (Luke xxi. 25, 26 ;) ihose 
fixed, as well as those that move round them. " The 
sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into 
blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord 
come." (Joel vi.. 31.) " The stars shall withdraw their 
shining," (Joel iii. 15,) yea, and " fall from heaven," 
(Rev. vi. 13,) being thrown out of their orbits. And 
then shall be heard the universal shout, from all th« 
.jompanies of heaven, followed by the " voice of the 
archangel," proclaiming the approach of the Son of 
God and man, " and the trumpet of God" sounding an 
alarm to all that sleep in the dust of the earth. (1 Thess. 
iv. 16.) In consequence of this, all the graves shall 
open, and the bodies of men arise. The sea also shall 
give up the dead which are therein, (Rev. xx. 13,) and 
every one shall rise with " his own body :" his own 
in substance, although so changed in its properties as 
we cannot now conceive. " For this corruptible will" 
then " put on incorruption, and this mortal put on im- 
mortality." (1 Cor. xv. 53.) Yea, " death and hades," 
the invisible world, shall " deliver up the dead that are 
in them." (Rev. xx. 13.) So that all who ever lived 
and died, since God created man, shall be raised incor 
ruptible and immortal. 

2. At the same time, " the Son of man shall bend 
forth his angels" over all the earth; and they shall 
" gather his elect from the four winds from one end of 
heaven to the other." (Matt. xxiv. 31.) And the Lord 
himself shall come with clouds in his own gl ny, and 
the glory of his Father, with ten thousand of his saints, 
even myriads of angels, and shall sit upon the throno of 
his glory. "And before him shall be gathered ill 


nations, and he shall separate them one from another 
and shall set the sheep," the good, " on his right hand, 
and the goats," the wicked, "upon the left." (Matt 
xxv. 31, &c.) Concerning this general assembly it is, 
that the beloved disciple speaks thus : " I saw the 
dead," all that had been dead, " small and great, stand 
before God ; and the books were opened," (a figurative 
expression, plainly referring to the manner or proceeding 
aipong men,) " and the dead were judged out of those 
tilings which were written in the books, according to 
their works." (Rev. xx. 12.) 

II. These are the chief circumstances which are 
recorded in the oracles of God, as preceding the general 
judgment. We are, secondly, to consider the judgment 
itself, so far as it hath pleased God to reveal it. 

1. The person by whom God will judge the world, is 
his only begotten Son, whose " goings forth are from 
everlasting ;" " who is God over all, blessed for ever." 
Unto Him, being "the outbeaming of his Father's 
glory, the express image of his person," (Heb. i. 3,) the 
Father "hath committed all judgment, because he is 
the Son of man ;" (John v. 22, 27 ;) because, though he 
was " in the form of God, and thought it not robbery 
to be equal with God, yet he emptied himself, taking 
upon him the form of a servant, being made in the like- 
ness of men ;" (Phil. ii. 6, 7 ;) yea, because, " being 
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself yet 
further, " becoming obedient unto death, even the death 
of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted 
him," even in his human nature, and " ordained him," 
as man, to try the children, of men, " to be the Judge 
both of the quick and dead ;" both of those who shall 
be found alive at his coming, and of those who were 
before gathered to their fathers. 

2. The time, termed by the prophet, " the great and 
the terrible day," is usually, in Scripture, styled the day 
of the Lord. The space from the creation of man upon 
the earth to the end of all things, is the day of the sons of 
■ten : the time that is now passing over us is properh 

7U/r day; when this is ended, the day of ike Lord will 
begin. But who can say how long it will continue? 
" With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years as one day." (2 Peter iii. 8.) And 
from this very expression, some of the ancient fathers 
drew that inference, that, what is commonly called the 
day of judgment would be indeed a thousand years: 
and it seems they did not go beyond the truth; nay, 
probably they did not come up to it. For, if we con- 
sider the number of persons who are to be judged, and 
of actions which are to be inquired into, it does not 
appear that a thousand years will suffice for the trans- 
actions of that day; so that it may not improbably 
comprise several thousand years. But God shall reveal 
this also in its season. 

3. With regard to the place where mankind will be 
judged, we have no explicit account in Scripture. An 
eminent writer (but not he alone ; many have been of 
the same opinion) supposes it will be on earth, where 
the works were done, according to which they shall be 
judged ; and that God will, in order thereto, employ 
the angels of his strength, — 

" To smooth and lengthen oat the boundless space, 
And spread an area for all human race." 

But perhaps it is more agreeable to our Lord's own 
account of his coming in the clouds, to suppose it will 
be above the earth, if not " twice a planetary height." 
And this supposition is not a little favoured by what 
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians : " The dead in 
Christ shall rise first. Then we who remain alive shall 
bo caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet 
the Lord in the air." (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.) So that it 
seems most probable, the great white throne will be 
high exalted above the earth. 

4. The persons to be judged, who can count, any 
more than the drops of rain, or the sands of the sea? 
"I beheld," saith St. John, "a great multitude which 
no man can number, clothed with white robes, and 


palms in their hands." How immense then must be 

the total multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and 

people, and tongues ; of all that have sprung from the 

loins of Adam, since the world began, till time shall be 

no more ! If we admit the common supposition, which 

seems no ways absurd, that the earth bears, at any one 

time, no less than four hundred millions of living souls, 

men, women, and children; what a congregation must 

all those generations make, who have succeeded each 

other for several thousand years ! 

" Great Xerxes' world in arms, proud Cannae's boat, 
They all are here ; and here they all are lost 
Their numbers swell to be discem'd in rain j 
Lost as a drop in the unbounded main.'* 

Every man, every woman, every infant of days, that 
ever breathed the vital air, will then hear the voice of 
the Son of God, and start into life, and appear before 
him. And this seems to be the natural import of that 
expression, " the dead, small and great :" all universally, 
all without exception, all of every age, sex, or degree ; 
all that ever lived and died, or underwent such a 
change as will be equivalent with death. For long 
before that day, the phantom of human greatness dis- 
appears, and sinks into nothing. Even in the moment 
of death, that vanishes away. Who is rich or great in 
the grave? 

5. And every man shall there " give an account of hie 
own works ;" yea, a full and true account of all that he 
ever did while in the body, whether it was good or evil. 
Oh what a scene will then be disclosed, in the sight of 
angels and men ! — while not the fabled Rhadamanthus, 
but the Lord God Almighty, who knoweth all things in 
heaven and in earth, — 

Castigatque, auditque dolos ; subigitque fateri 
Quae quis apud superos, furto lsetatus inani, 
Distulit in seram commissa piacula mortem.* 

• " O'or these drear realms stern Rhadamanthus reign* 
Detects each artful villain, and constrains 
To own the crimes, long veil'd from human sight: 
In vain ! Now all stand forth in hated light" 
'20 S vol. i. Ta 


tut day; when this is ended, the day of the Lord will 
begin. But who can say how long it will continue? 
" With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years as one day." (2 Peter iii. 8.) And 
from this very expression, some of the ancient fathers 
drew that inference, that, what is commonly called the 
day of judgment would he indeed a thousand years: 
and it seems they did not go heyond the truth ; nay, 
probably they did not come up to it. For, if we con- 
sider the number of persons who are to be judged, and 
of actions which are to be inquired into, it does not 
appear that a thousand years will suffice for the trans- 
actions of that day; so that it may not improbably 
comprise several thousand years. But God shall reveal 
this also in its season. 

3. With regard to the place where mankind will be 
judged, we have no explicit account in Scripture. An 
eminent writer (but not he alone ; many have been of 
the same opinion) supposes it will be on earth, where 
the works were done, according to which they shall be 
judged; and that God will, in order thereto, employ 
the angels of his strength, — 

" To smooth and lengthen out the boundless space, 
And spread an area for all human race." 

r*ut perhaps it is more agreeable to our Lord's own 
account of his coming in the clouds, to suppose it will 
be above the earth, if not " twice a planetary height." 
And this supposition is not a little favoured by what 
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians : " The dead in 
Christ shall rise first. Then we who remain alive shall 
bo caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet 
the Lord in the air." (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.) So that it 
seems most probable, the great white throne will be 
high exalted above the earth. 

4. The persons to be judged, who can count, any 
more than the drops of rain, or the sands of the sea? 
"I beheld," saith St. John, "a great multitude which 
no man can number, clothed with white robes, and 


palms in their hands." How immense then must be 

the total multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and 

people, and tongues ; of all that have sprung from the 

loins of Adam, since the world began, till time shall be 

no more ! If we admit the common supposition, which 

seems no ways absurd, that the earth bears, at any one 

time, no less than four hundred millions of living souls, 

men, women, and children; what a congregation must 

all those generations make, who have succeeded each 

other for several thousand years ! 

" Great Xerxes' world in arms, proud Cannae's boat, 
They all are here ; and here they all are lost 
Their numbers swell to be discem'd in rain j 
Lost as a drop in the unbounded main.'* 

Every man, every woman, every infant of days, that 
ever breathed the vital air, will then hear the voice of 
the Son of God, and start into life, and appear before 
him. And this seems to be the natural import of that 
expression, " the dead, small and great :" all universally, 
all without exception, all of every age, sex, or degree ; 
all that ever lived and died, or underwent such a 
change as will be equivalent with death. For long 
before that day, the phantom of human greatness dis- 
appears, and sinks into nothing. Even in the moment 
of death, that vanishes away. Who is rich or great in 
the grave? 

5. And every man shall there " give an account of hie 
own works ;" yea, a full and true account of all that he 
ever did while in the body, whether it was good or evil. 
Oh what a scene will then be disclosed, in the sight of 
angels and men ! — while not the fabled Rhadamanthus, 
but the Lord God Almighty, who knoweth all things in 
heaven and in earth, — 

Castigatque, auditque dolos ; subigitque fateri 
Quae quis apud superos, furto lsetatus inani, 
Distulit in seram commissa piacula mortem.* 

• " O'or these drear realms stern Rhadamanthus reign* 
Detects each artful villain, and constrains 
To own the crimes, long veil'd from human sight: 
In vain ! Now all stand forth in hated light" 
'20 S vol. i. Ta 


Nor will the actions alone of every child of man be then 
brought to open view, but ail their words ; seeing " every 
idle word which men shall speak, they shall give ac- 
count thereof in the day of judgment;" (Matt. xii. 
36, 37 ;) so that " by thy words," as well as works, 
" thou shalt be justified ; and by thy words thou shalt 
be condemned." Will not God then bring to light 
every circumstance also that accompanied every word or 
action, and if not altered the nature, yet lessened or in- 
creased the goodness or badness, of them ? And how 
easy is this to Him who is " about our bed, and about 
our path, and spieth out all our ways !" We know 
" the darkness is no darkness to him, but the night 
shineth as the day." 

6. Yea, he will bring to light, not the hidden 
works of daikness only, but the very thoughts and 
intents of the hearts. And what marvel? For he 
" searcheth the reins, and understandeth all our 
thoughts." " All things are naked and open to the 
eyes of Him with whom we have to do." "Hell 
and destruction are before him without a cover- 
ing. How much more the hearts of the children of 
men 1" 

7 And in that day shall be discovered every in- 
ward working of every human soul ; every appetite, 
passion, inclination, affection, with the various combi- 
nations of them, with every temper and disposition 
that constitute the whole complex character of each in- 
dividual. So shall it be clearly and infallibly seen 
who was righteous, and who was unrighteous ; and in 
what degree every action, or person, or character was 
cither good or evil. 

8. " Then the King will say to them upon hia 
right hand, Come, yc blessed of my Father. For 1 
was hungry, and yc gave me meat ; thirsty, and ye 
gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took mc in ; 
naked, and yc clothed mc." In like manner, all the 
good they did upon earth will be recited before men 
and angels j whatsoever they had done, either in word or 


deed, in the nam 3, or for the sake, of the Lord Jesus. 
All their good desires, intentions, thoughts, all theii 
holy dispositions, will also be then remembered; and 
it will appear, that though they were unknown or 
forgotten among men, yet God noted them in his book. 
All their sufferings likewise for the name of Jesus, 
and for the testimony of a good conscience, will bo 
displayed unto their praise from the righteous Judge, 
their honour before saints and angels, and the increase 
of that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of 

9. But will their evil deeds too, (since, if we take in 
his whole life, there is not a man on earth that liveth 
and sinneth not,) will these be remembered in that day, 
and mentioned in the great congregation ? Many be- 
lieve they will not; and ask, "Would not this imply, 
that their sufferings were not at an end, even when life 
ended ? — seeing they would still have sorrow, and shame, 
and confusion of face to endure." They ask, further, 
" How can this be reconciled with God's declaration 
by the prophet, — ' If the wicked will turn from all hip 
sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, 
and do that which is lawful and right; all his trans- 
gressions that he hath committed, they shall not be 
once mentioned unto him V (Ezek. xviii. 21, 22.) How 
is it consistent with the promise which God has made to 
all who accept of the gospel covenant, — ' I will forgive 
their iniquities, and remember their sin no more?'" 
(Jer. xxxi. 34 :) or, as the apostle expresses it, ' I will 
be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins 
and iniquities will I remember no more?'" (Heb. 
viii. 12.) 

10. It may be answered, It is apparently and ab- 
solutely necessary, for the full display of the glory of 
God, — for the clear and perfect manifestation of hi? 
wisdom, justice, power, and mercy, toward the heirs 
of salvation, — that all the circumstances of their life 
should be placed in open view, together with all theii 
'tempers, and all the desires, thoughts, and intents o* 


then hearts : otherwise, how would it appear out of 
what a depth of sin and misery the grace of God 
had delivered them ? And, indeed, if the whole lives 
of all the children of men were not manifestly dis- 
covered, the whole amazing contexture of divine 
providence could not be manifested ; nor should we 
yet be able, in a thousand instances, "to justify the 
ways of God to man." Unless our Lord's words 
were fulfilled in their utmost sense, without any re- 
striction or limitation, — "There is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed, or hid that shall not be 
known," (Matt. x. 26), — abundance of God's dispen- 
sations under the sun would still appear without their 
reasons. And then only when God hath brought to 
light all the hidden things of darkness, whosoever were 
the actors therein, will it be seen that wise and good 
were all his ways ; that he saw through the thick cloud, 
and governed all things by the wise counsel of his owd 
will ; that nothing was left to chance or the caprice of 
men, but God disposed all strongly and sweetly, and 
wrought all into one connected chain of justice, mercy, 
and truth. 

1 L. And in the discovery of the divine perfections, 
the righteous will rejoice with joy unspeakable; far 
from feeling any painful sorrow or shame, for any 
af those past transgressions which were long since 
Slotted out as a cloud, washed away by the blood of the 
Lamb. It will be abundantly sufficient for them, that 
ill the transgressions which they had committed shall 
not be once mentioned unto them to their disadvan- 
tage ; that their sins, and transgressions, and iniquities 
shall be remembered no more to their condemnation. 
This is the plain meaning of the promise ; and this all 
the children of God shall find true, to their everlasting 

12. After the righteous are judged, the King will turn 

to them upon his left hand; and they shall also be 

judged, every man according to his works. But not 

anly their outward works will be brought into the m 



Bount, but all the evil words which they hare ever 
spoken; yea, all the evil desires, affections, tempers, 
which hare, or have had, a place in their souls ; and all 
the evil thoughts or designs which were ever cherished 
in their hearts. The joyful sentence of acquittal will 
then be pronounced upon those upon the right hand j 
the dreadful sentence of condemnation upon those on the 
left; both of which must remain fixed and un movable 
as the throne of God. 

III. 1. We may, in the third place, consider a few of 
Jae circumstances which will follow the general judg- 
ment. And the first is the execution of the sentence 
pronounced on the evil and on the good : " These shali 
go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous 
into life eternal." It should be observed, it is the verj 
same word which is used, both in the former and in th< 
latter clause. It follows, that either the punishment 
lasts for ever, or the reward too will come to an end : — 
no, never, unless God could come to an end, or his 
mercy and truth could fail. " Then shall the righteous 
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father," 
" and shall drink of those rivers of pleasure which are at 
Q-od's right hand for evermore." But here all descrip- 
tion falls short ; all human language fails ! Only one 
who is caught up into the third heaven can have a just 
conception of it. But even such a one cannot express 
what he hath seen : these things it is not possible for 
man to utter. 

The wicked, meantime, shall be turned into hell, even 
all the people that forget Go # d. They will be " punished 
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the 
Lord, and from the glory of his power." They will b« 
"cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone," 
originally " prepared for the devil and his angels ;" when 
they will gnaw their tongues for anguish and pain, the) 
will curse God and look upward. There the dogs of 
hell — pride, malice, revenge, rage, horror, despair — 
oontinually devour them. There " they have no rest, 
Uy or night, but the smoke of their torment ascendetl 


for ever and ever !" For " their worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched." 

2. Then the heavens will be shrivelled up as a parch- 
ment scroll, and pass away with a great noise : they wilJ 
" flee from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, 
and there will be found no place for them." (Rev. xx 
11.) The very manner of their passing away is dis- 
closed to us by the apostle Peter : " In the day of 
God, the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved." 
(2 Peter iii. 12.) The whole beautiful fabric will be 
overthrown by that raging element, the connection of 
all its parts destroyed, and every atom torn asunder 
from the others. By the same, " the earth also, and 
the works that are therein, shall be burned up." (Verse 
10.) The enormous works of nature, the everlasting 
hills, mountains that have defied the rage of time, and 
stood unmoved so many thousand years, will sink down 
in fiery ruin. How much less will the works of art, 
though of the most durable kind, the utmost efforts 
of human industry, — tombs, pillars, triumphal arches, 
castles, pyramids, — be able to withstand the flaming 
conqueror ! All, all will die, perish, vanish away, like a 
dream when one awaketh ! 

3. It has indeed been imagined by some great and 
good men, that as it requires that same almighty power 
to annihilate things as to create; to speak into nothing 
or out of nothing; so no part of, no atom in, the uni- 
verse, will be totally or finally destroyed. Eather, they 
suppose, that, as the last operation of fire, which we 
have yet been able to observe, is to reduce into glass 
what, by a smaller force, it had reduced to ashes; so, in 
the day God hath ordained, the whole earth, if not the 
material heavens also, will undergo this change, after 
which the fire can have no further power over them. 
And they believe this is intimated by that expression in 
♦he Hevelation made to St. John : " Before the throne 
mere was a sea of glass, like unto crystal." (Rev. iv. 6.) 
We cannot now either affirm or deny this ; but we shall 

know hereafter. 



4. If it be inquired by the scoffers, the minute philo- 
sophers, " How can these things be ? Whence should 
come such an immense quantity of fire as would con- 
sume the heavens and the whole terraqueous globe t" 
we would beg leave, first, to remind them, that thij 
difficulty is not peculiar to the Christian system. The 
same opinion almost universally obtained among the 
unbigoted heathens. So one of those celebrated free 
thinkers speaks, according to the generally received sen 
timent : — 

Esse quoque in fatis reminiscitur, affore tempus, 
Quo mare, quo tellus, correptaque regia cceli 
Ardeat, et mundi moles operosa laboret * 

but, secondly, it is easy to answer, even from our slight 
and superficial acquaintance with natural things, that 
there are abundant magazines of fire ready prepared, 
and treasured up against the day of the Lord. How 
soon may a comet, commissioned by him, travel down 
from the most distant parts of the universe ! And were 
it to fix upon the earth, in its return from the sun, 
when it is some thousand times hotter than a red-hot 
cannon-ball, who does not see what must be the imme- 
diate consequence ? But, not to ascend so high as the 
ethereal heavens, might not the same lightnings which 
" give shine to the world," if commanded by the Lord 
of nature, give ruin and utter destruction ? Or, to go 
no farther than the globe itself : who knows what huge 
reservoirs of liquid fire are from age to age contained in 
the bowels of the earth ? ^tna, Hecla, Vesuvius, and 
til the other volcanoes that belch out flames and coals 
of fire, what are they, but so many proofs and mouths 

* The following is Dryden's translation of this quotation fro* 

"Rememberings in the fates, a time when fire 
Should to the battlements of heaven aspire ; 
And all the blazing world above should burn, 
And all the inferior globe to cinders turn." — ■on- 


of these fiery furnaces; and a., the same time so mauj 
evidences that God hath in readiness wherewith to fulfil 
his word ? Yea, were we to observe no more than the 
surface of the earth, and the things that surround us on 
every side, it is most certain (as a thousand experi- 
ments prove, beyond all possibility of denial) that we 
ourselves, our whole bodies, are full of fire, as well u 
evjry thing round about us. Is it not easy to make 
thU ethereal fire visible even to the naked eye, and 
to produce thereby the very same effects on com- 
bustible matter which are produced by culinary fire? 
Needs there then any more than for God to unloose 
that secret chain, whereby this irresistible agent \r 
now bound down, and lies quiescent in every particle 
of matter ? And how soon would it tear the univer- 
sal frame in pieces, and involve all in one common 


5. There is one circumstance more, which will follow 
the judgment, that deserves our serious consideration. 
" We look," says the apostle, " according to his pro- 
mise, for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth 
righteousness." (2 Peter iii. 13.) The promise stands 
in the prophecy of Isaiah : " Behold, I create new 
heavens and a new earth : and the former shall not be 
remembered ;" (Isaiah lxv. 17 ;) — so great shall the 
glory of the latter be ! These St. John did behold in 
the visions of God. " I saw," saith he, "a new heaven 
and a new earth ; for the first heaven and the first earth 
were passed away." (Kev. xxi. 1.) And only right- 
eousness dwelt therein. Accordingly, he adds, " And I 
heard a great voice from" the third " heaven, saying, 
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will 
dwell with them, and they shall be his people ; and God 
himself shall be with them, and be their God." (xxi. 3.) 
Of necessity, therefore, they will all be happy : " God 
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there 
shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, 
neither shall there be any more pain." (xxi. 4.) " There 
ihall be no more curse ; but they shall see his faoe ;' 


(xxii. 8, 4 ;) — shall have the nearest access to, and 
thence the highest resemblance of, him. This is the 
strongest expression in the language of Scripture, to 
denote the most perfect happiness. " And his name 
shall be on their foreheads;" they shall be openlj 
acknowledged as God's own property, and his glo- 
rious nature shall most visibly shine forth in them. 
"And there shall be no night there; and they need 
no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord 
God giveth them light : and they shall reign for ever 
«nd ever." 

IV- It remains only to apply the preceding considera- 
tions to all who are here before God. And are we not 
directly led so to do, by the present solemnity, which 
so naturally points us to that day, when the Lord will 
judge the world in righteousness? This, therefore, by 
reminding us of that more awful season, may furnish 
many lessons of instruction. A few of these I may be 
permitted just to touch on. May God write them on all 
our hearts! 

1. And, first, how beautiful are the feet of those who 
are sent by the wise and gracious providence of God, to 
execute justice on earth, to defend the injured and 
punish the wrong-doer! Are- they not the ministers of 
God to us for good ; the grand supporters of the public 
tranquillity ; the patrons of innocence and virtue ; the 
great security of all our temporal blessings ? And does 
not every one of these represent, not only an earthly 
prince, but the Judge of the earth ? Him, whose " name 
is written upon his thigh, King of kings, and Lord of 
lords ?" ! that all these sons of the right hand of the 
Most High may be holy as he is holy ! wise with the 
wisdom that sitteth by his throne, like Him who is the 
eternal Wisdom of the Father ! no respecters ui persons, 
w he is none ; but rendering to every man according 
to his works; like Him inflexibly, inexorably just, 
though pitiful and of tender mercy f So shall they be 
terrible indeed to them that do evil, as not bearing the 
■word in vain. So shall the laws of our land have theii 


full use and due honour, and the throne of our King be 
still established in righteousness. 

2. Ye truly honourable men, whom God and the 
king have commissioned, in a lower degree, to admi- 
nister justice ; may not ye be compared to those minis- 
tering spirits who will attend the Judge coming in the 
clouds ? May you, like them, burn with love to God 
and man ! May you love righteousness and hate ini- 
quity ! May ye all minister, in your several spheres, 
(such honour hath God given you also !) to them that 
shall be heirs of salvation, and to the glory of your great 
Sovereign ! May ye remain the establishers of peace, 
the blessing and ornaments of your country, the protec- 
tors of a guilty land, the guardian angels of all that arr 
round about you ! 

3. You, whose office it is to execute what is given 
you in charge by him before whom you stand; how 
nearly are you concerned to resemble those that stand 
before the face of the Son of man, those servants of his 
that do his pleasure, and hearken to the voice of his 
words ! Does it not highly import you, to be as uncor- 
rupt as they ? to approve yourselves the servants of 
God? to do justly, and love mercy? to do to all as ye 
would they should do to you ? So shall that great Judge, 
under whose eye you continually stand, say to you also, 
" Well done, good and faithful servants : enter ye into 
the joy of your Lord !" 

4. Suffer me to add a few words to all of you who 
are at this day present before the Lord. Should not 
you bear it in your minds all the day long, that a more 
awful day is coming ? A large assembly this I But what 
is it to that which every eye will then behold, the general 
assembly of all the children of men that ever lived on 
the face of the whole earth ? A few will stand at the 
judgment-seat this day, to be judged touching what 
shall be laid to their charge; and they are now re- 
served in prison, perhaps in chains, till they are 
brought forth to be tried and sentenced. But "we 

■hall all," I that speak and you that hear, " stand at the 



judgment-seat of Christ." And we are now reserved on 
this earth, which is not our home, in this prison of flesh 
and blood, perhaps many of us in chains of darkness 
too, till we are ordered to be brought forth. Hero a 
man is questioned concerning one or two facts, which he 
is supposed to have committed. There we are to give 
an account of all our works, from the cradle to the 
grave ; of all our words ; of all our desires and tempers, 
all the thoughts and intents of our hearts ; of all the use 
we have mad? of our various talents, whether of mind, 
body, or fortune, till God said, " Give an account of 
thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward." 
In this court, it is possible, some who are guilty may 
escape for want of evidence j but there is no want of 
evidence in that court. All men with whom vou had 
the most secret intercourse, who were privy to all your 
designs and actions, are ready before your face. So 
are all the spirits of darkness, who inspired evil designs, 
and assisted in the execution of them. So are all the 
angels of God; those eyes of the Lord, that run to and 
fro over all the earth, who watched over your soul, and 
laboured for your good, so far as you would permit. So 
is your own conscience, a thousand witnesses in one, 
now no more capable of being either blinded or silenced, 
but constrained to know and to speak the naked truth, 
touching all your thoughts, and words, and actions. 
And is conscience as a thousand witnesses? — yea, 
but God is as a thousand consciences ? Oh, who can 
stand before the face of the great God, even our Saviour 
Jesus Christ. 

See ! See ! He cometh ! He maketh the clouds his 
ohariot. He rideth upon the wings of the wind ! A 
devouring fire goeth before him, and after him a flame 
burneth! See! He sitteth upon his throne, clothed 
with light as with a garment, arrayed with majesty and 
honour ! Behold, his eyes are as a flame of fire, his 
voice as the sound of many waters ! 

How will ye escape ? Will ye call to the mountains 
to fidl on you, the rocks to cover your? Alas! the 


mountains themselves, the rocks, the earth, the heavens, 
are just ready to flee away ? Can ye prevent the sen- 
tence? Wherewith? With all the substance of thy 
house, with thousands of gold and silver ? Blind wretch j 
Thou earnest naked from thy mother's womb, and more 
naked into eternity. Hear the Lord, the Judge ! " Come, 
ye blessed of my Father ! inherit the kingdom prepared 
for you from the foundation of the world." Joyful 
sound ! How widely different from that voice which 
echoes through the expanse of heaven, "Depart, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and 
his angels I" And who is he that can prevent or retard 
the full execution of either sentence ? Vain hope ! Lo, 
hell is moved from beneath to receive those who are ripe 
for destruction. And the everlasting doors lift up their 
heads, that the heirs of glory may come in ! 

5. " What manner of persons then ought we to be, 
in all holy conversation and godliness V We know it 
cannot be long before the Lord will descend with the 
voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God ; when 
every one of us shall appear before him, and give ac- 
count of his own works. " Wherefore, beloved, seeing 
ye look for these things," seeing ye know he will come 
and will not tarry, " be diligent, that ye may be found 
of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Why 
should ye not ? Why should one of you be found on the 
left hand at his appearing ? He willeth not that any 
should perish, but that all should come to repentance ; 
by repentance, to faith in a bleeding Lord ; by faith, to 
spotless love, to the full image of God renewed in the 
heart, and producing all holiness of conversation. Can 
you doubt of this, when you remember the Judge of all 
is likewise the Saviour of all ? Hath he not bought you 
with his own blood, that ye might not perish, but have 
everlasting life ? Oh, make proof of his mercy, rather 
than his justice ; of his love, rather than the thunder of 
his power ! He is not far from every one of us ; and he 
is now come, not to condemn, but to save the world. 
He standeth in the midst ! Sinner, doth he not now, 


ven now, knock at the door of thy heart ? Oh that thon 
aayest know, at least in this thy day, the things that 
telong unto thy peace ! Oh that ye may now give your- 
elves unto Him who gave himself for you, in humble 
aith, in holy, active, patient love! So shall ye rejoice 
nth exceeding joy in his day, when be oometh in the 
iouds of heaven. 


Ques. 1. (f 1.) What circumstances made this an occasion 
of great solemnity? 

Ques. 2. (If 2.) What more solemn occasion does it sug- 

Ques. 3. (T[ 3.) What effect would a proper sense of this 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What is first considered? 

Ques. 5. (L 2.) What is here said of the great assize? 

Ques. 6. (II. 1.) By whom is the world to be judged? 

Ques. 7. (II. 2.) What is the time called in the Script- 

Ques. 8. (II. 3.) What is said of the place? 

Ques. 9. (II. 4.) And of the persons to he judged? 

Ques. 10. (II. 5.) For what purpose are thev to be assem- 

Ques. 11. (II. 6.) What will be brought to light? 

Ques. 12. (II. 7.) What is said of the inward working of 
the soul? 

Ques. 13. (II. 8.) What will the King say to those on the 

Ques. 14. (II. 9.) What objection is made to the mention 
of evil deeds? 

Ques. 15. (II. 10.) What is the answer to this objection? 

Ques. 16. (II. 11.) What will be the effect of discovering 
the divine perfections? 

Ques. 17. (II. 12.) What follows after the righteous are 

Ques. 18. (III. 1.) What circumstances follow the judgment? 



Ques. 19. (III. 2.) What will become of the heavens? 

Ques. 20. (III. 3.) What has been imagined by some 
great and good men? 

Ques. 21. (III. 4.) What is said of scoffers? 

Ques. 22. (III. 5.) What circumstance deserves seri- 
ous consideration? 

Ques. 23. (IV. 1.) What is said of God's ministers? 

Ques. 24. (IV. 2.) What is said to the judicial officers 

Ques. 25. (IV 3.) How does the preacher address 
them here? 

Ques. 26. (IV 4.) What is said to the audience? 

Ques. 27. (IV. 5.) How does the sermon conclude? 


It is supposed that this sermon was first preached as earlf 
as 1740. Prof. Burwash says that "it originally stood next 
in order to the sermon on 'Sin in Believers,' forming with 
that sermon a complete refutation of the serious errors which 
led to the entire separation of Methodism from the Mora- 
vian Societies." We learn from Mr. Wesley's journal and 
his letters to his brother that Mr. Charles Wesley was at 
one time in great danger of falling into some of these Mo- 
ravian errors. He was silent for some months, and gave his 
brother John no assistance whatever during this melancholy 
period. That his retirement was not wholly due to the 
gloomy seasons to which most persons of poetic tempera- 
ment are subject appears from the letters to Mr. John Wes- 
ley. High-churchman though he was, Charles Wesley was 
for a short period attracted by the mysticism of the Moravians. 

To be silent, waiting for the Spirit to perfect his work in 
the soul; to abstain from the Lord's Supper and all other 
ordinances and institutions; and to cease even from prayer 
and searching the Scriptures, were errors much more dan- 
gerous than those of the Quakers. Among a people of little 
education, and liable to be carried away by any plausible 
theory, it is not surprising that Mr. Wesley found the Soci- 
ety at Fetter Lane in a state of disorder and confusion. 
We learn from Mr. Tyerman that " Wesley preached a series 
of sermons: 1. On the delusion 'that weak faith is no faith.' 
2. On the bold affirmation that there is but one commandment 
in the New Testament — namely, ' To believe.' 3. On the point 



that Christians are subject to the ordinances of Christ. 4. 
On the fact that a man may be justified without being en- 
tirely sanctified. These discourses were followed by^five 
others on reading the Scriptures, prayer, the Lord's Supper, 
and good works." 

We have seen the renewal of these errors of the Moravi- 
ans — or some of them, at least — among the followers of Mr. 
Alexander Campbell. It is boldly declared that a sinner 
has no right to pray ; that this is of no avail so long as one 
is out of " the kingdom." According to these teachers, the 
first duty of a sinner is to believe, and then to be baptized. 
Baptism performed becomes the title of the soul to pardon, 
and it is given in the act of obedience to the divine com- 
mand. No sinner has any right to partake of any ordinance 
of God until he has by baptism been introduced into the 
kingdom of Christ. The illustration of an alien entering 
into citizenship of our country is presented by Mr. Camp- 
bell as a full and satisfactory parallel. As the duties of 
citizenship are not obligatory upon an alien until he takes 
the oath of allegiance ; as he cannot vote, hold office, or per- 
form other acts peculiar to citizenship, so it is claimed that 
the ordinances of the Church are inside of the Church, and 
not outside of it. 

On the other hand, in our time, as in Mr. Wesley's, there 
is undue importance attached to the ordinances. Baptism 
is made, not the sign, seal, and pledge of redeeming grace, 
but the instrument of regeneration. Without it, there is no 
spiritual cleansing; by means of it, the soul is transferred 
from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of Christ. The 
Lord's Supper, after baptism, becomes the only means by 
which the Divine Spirit is communicated to the soul; and 
as the first ordinance began the Christian life, so the second 
continued and perfected it. By this doctrine the whole work 
of redemption and salvation is reduced to a mechanical proc- 
ess, in which material objects become the channels essen- 
tial to the conveyance of divine blessing. 
21 T VOL. I. 


Mr. Wesley represents the Moravian form of error as fol- 
lows: "As to the way of faith, you believe the way to attain 
it is*o wait for Christ and be still — that is, not to use (what 
we term) the means of grace, not to go to church, not to 
communicate, not to fast, not to use so much private prayer, 
not to read the Scriptures, not to do temporal good, nor at- 
tempt doing spiritual good." 

Against all these errors — the Antinomian, that will allow 
no act of the sinner previous to conversion except faith, that 
places repentance after faith — and the sacramentarian error 
that makes the ordinances the only channels of redeeming 
grace, it is only necessary to place the plain, unanswerable 
language of the Bible. While we do not deny that God 
may regenerate a believing soul in baptism, we hold that 
the grace of God is not restricted to any ordinance. While 
we acknowledge the spiritual benefits received by a proper 
use of the Lord's Supper, we deny that it is the only chan- 
nel of God's sustaining and edifying grace. Using all the 
means as if dependent on them, and trusting in the Holy 
Spirit as if we were independent of them, we believe we 
attain to the truth as it is in Jesus. 


I. Are there any ordinances under the Christian dispen- 
sation? This question could not have been raised in the 
apostles' days. It grew out of the reaction against an age 
of mere outward forms. The protest against forms without 
the living spirit insensibly became a rejection of forms alto- 

II. The question considered. 

Means of grace defined. Enumerated as prayer, search- 
ing the Scriptures, and the Lord's Supper. Their value de- 
pends on subserving the ends of religion. They are not a 
commutation for religion; cannot avail without the Spirit 
of God ; cannot atone for sin ; are often abused. 

III. But still the word of God commands all who de- 


sire the grace of God to wait for it in the use of the 

1. In the way of prayer. Scripture proofs: Matt. vii. 
7-11; Luke xi. 5-13; xviii. 1-5; Matt. vi. 6; James i. 5; 
Iv. 2. 

2. In searching the Scriptures. John v. 39; Acts xvii. 
11, 12; 2 Tim. iii. 15-17; 2 Pet. i. 19. 

3. In the Lord's Supper. 1 Cor. xi. 23, etc.; x. 16. 

IV. Objections. 

1. "Means cannot be used without trusting in them." 
God intended that we should trust them as means. 

2. "This is seeking salvation by works." Not in the 
proper sense of works. 

3. "Christ is the only means of grace." Not in the proper 
sense of means. 

4. "We are to wait for salvation." Yes; but in the use 
of God's appointed means. 

5. "Stand still and see," etc. Which they did by march- 
ing forward with all their might, etc. 

6. If ye be dead with Christ, why are ye subject to ordi- 
nances? The ordinances of the Jewish law. 

V. How shall we use the means? 

1. In God's order — the word to convince, then prayer, 
finally the Lord's Supper. This should not be reversed, but 
we must be guided by indications of God's providence. 

2. As to manner — placing God above the means, seeking 
bim alone in the means, and avoiding all self-righteous trust 




" Ye are gone away from mine ordinance*, and have not Urn 
them." — Malachi iii. 7. 

1. 1. But are there any ordinances now, since life 
»nd immortality were brought to light by this gcspoi ? 
Are there, under the Christian dispensation, any meaw 
ordained of God, as the usual channels of his grace ? 
This question could never have been proposed in the 
apostolical church, unless by one who openly avowed him- 
self to be a heathen ; the whole body of Christians being 
agreed, that Christ had ordained certain outward means, 
for conveying his grace into the souls of men. Their 
constant practice set this beyond all dispute ; for s»o long 
as " all that believed were together, and had all things 
common," (Acts ii. 44,) " they continued steadfastly 
in the teaching of the apostles, and in breaking of 
bread, and in prayers." (Verse 42.) 

2. But in process of time, when " the iove of many 
waxed cold," some began to mistake the means for tho 
end, and to place religion, rather in doing those out- 
ward works, than in a heart renewed after the image of 
God. They forgot that " the end of every " command- 
ment is love, out of a pure heart," with "faith un- 
feigned ;" the loving the Lord their God with all their 
heart, and their neighbour as themselves; and the being 
purified from pride, anger, and evil desire, by a " faith 
of the operation of God." Others seemed to imagine, 
that though religion did not principally consist in these 
outward means, yet there was something in them where- 
with God was well pleased ; something that would still 
make them acceptable in his sight, though fhey wo ie 


not cxhjct in the weightier matters of the law, in jastise ; 
mercy, and the love of God. 

3. It is svident, in those who abused them thus, they 
did not conduce to the end for which they were or- 
dained : tather, the things which should have been for 
their health were to them an occasion of falling. They 
were so far from receiving any blessing therein, that 
they only drew do\m a curse upon their head ; so far 
from growing more heavenly in heart and life, that they 
were twofold more the children of hell than before 
Others, clearly perceiving that these means did not convey 
the grace of God to those childien of the devil, began, from 
this particular case, to draw a general conclusion, — that 
they were not means of conveying the grace of God. 

4. Yet the number of those who abused the ordinances 
of God was far greater than of those who despised them, 
till certain men arose, not only of great understanding, 
(sometimes joined with considerable learning,) but who 
likewise appeared to be men of love, experimentally ac- 
quainted with true, inward religion. Some of these 
were burning and shining lights, persons famous in 
their generations, and such as had well deserved of the 
ehurch of Christ, for standing in the gap against the 
ovurflowings of ungodliness. 

It cannot be supposed that these holy and venerable 
en intended any more, at first, than to show that out- 
ward religion is nothing worth, without the religion of 
the heart ; that " God is a Spirit, and they who worship 
him must worship him in spirit and in truth ;" that, 
therefore, external worship is lost labour, withouc a 
heart devoted to God ; that the outward ordinances of 
God then profit much, when they advance inward holi- 
ness, but, when they advance it not, are unprofitable 
and void, are lighter than vanity ; yea, that when they 
are used, as it were, in the place of this, they are an 
utter abomination to the Lord. 

ft. Yet it is not strange, if some of these, being strongly 
convinced of that horrid profanation of the ordinance 
>r God. which had spread itself over the whole ohurcb 


and wellnigh driven true religion out of tbe world, — in 
their fervent zeal for the glory of God, and the recovery 
of souls from that fatal delusion, — spake as if outward 
religion were absolutely nothing, as if it had no place in 
the religion of Christ. It is not surprising at all, if they 
should not always have expressed themselves with suffi- 
cient caution; so that unwary hearers might believe 
they condemned all outward means, as altogether un- 
profitable, and as not designed of God to be the ordinary 
jhannels of conveying his grace into the souls of men. 

Nay, it is not impossible, some of these holy men 
did, at length, themselves fall into this opinion, in par- 
ticular those who, not by choice, but by the provi- 
dence of God, were cut off from all these ordinances ; 
perhaps wandering up and down, having no certain 
abiding-place, or dwelling in dens and caves of the 
earth These, experiencing the grace of God in them- 
selves, though they were deprived of all outward means, 
might infer that the same grace would be given to them 
who of set purpose abstained from them. 

6. And experience shows how easily this notion 
spreads, and insinuates itself into the minds of men 
especially of those who are thoroughly awakened out of 
the sleep of death, and begin to feel the weight of their 
sins a burden too heavy to be borne. These are usually 
impatient of their present state ; and, trying every way 
to escape from it, they are always ready to catch at any 
new thing, any new proposal of ease or happiness. They 
have probably tried most outward means, and found no 
ease in them ; it may be, more and more of remorse, 
and fear, and sorrow, and condemnation. It is easy, 
therefore, to persuade these, that it is better for them to 
abstain from all those means. They are already weary 
of striving (as it seems) in vain, of labouring in the fire; 
and are therefore glad of any pretence to cast aside that 
wherein their soul has no pleasure, to give over the 
painful strife, and sink down into an indolent inactivity. 

H. I. L» the following discourse, I propose to ex- 
amine at large whether there be any means of graoe 


By "means of grace" I understand outward signs, 
words, or actions, ordained of God, and appointed for this 
end, to be the ordinary channels whereby he might con 
vey to men, preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace. 

I use this expression, " means of grace," because 1 
know none better ; and because it has been generally 
used in the Christian church for many ages, — in parti- 
cular by our own Church, which directs us to bleos God 
both for the means of grace, and the hope of glory ; and 
teaches us, that a sacrament is " an outward sign of 
inward grace, and a means whereby we receive the same." 

The chief of these means are prayer, whether in secret 
or with the great congregation; searching the Scrip- 
tures ; (which implies reading, hearing, and meditating 
thereon ;) and receiving the Lord's supper, eating bread 
and drinking wine in remembrance of him : and these 
we believe to be ordained of God, as the ordinary chan- 
nels of conveying his grace to the souls of men. 

2. But we allow that the whole value of the means 
depends on their actual subservience to the end of reli- 
gion; that, consequently, all these means, when sepa- 
rate from the end, are less than nothing and vanity ; 
that if they do not actually conduce to the knowledge 
and love of God, they are not acceptable in his sight ; 
yea, rather, they are an abomination before him, a stink 
in his nostrils; he is weary to bear them. Above all, 
if they are used as a kind of commutation for the religion 
they were designed to subserve, it is not easy to find 
words for the enormous folly and wickedness of thus 
turning God's arms against himself; of keeping Chris- 
tianity out of the heart by those very means which were 
ordained for the bringing \t in. 

3. We allow, likewise, that all outward means what- 
ever, if separate from the Spirit of God, cannot profit at 
all, cannot conduce, in any degree, either to the know- 
ledge or love of God. Without controversy, the help 
that is done upon earth, He doeth it himself. It is He 
alone who, by his own almighty power, worketh in us 
what is pleasing it his sight ; and all outward things, 
unless He work in them and by them, are mere weai 


and beggarly elements. Whosoever, therefore, imagines, 
there is any intrinsic power in any means whatsoever, 
does greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, neithei 
the power of God. We know that there is no inherent 
power in the words that are spoken in prayer, in the 
letter of Scripture read, the sound thereof heard, or the 
bread and wine received in the Lord's supper ; but that 
it is God alone who is the Giver of every good gift, the 
Author of all grace : that the whole power is of Him, 
whereby, through any of these, there is any, blessing 
conveyed to our souls. We know, likewise, that he is 
able to give the same grace, though there were no means 
on the face of the earth. In this sense, we may affirm, 
that, with regard to God, there is no such thing as 
means; seeing he is equally able to work whatsover 
plcaseth him, by any, or by none at all. 

i. We allow further, that the use of all means what- 
ever will never atone for one sin ; that it is the blood of 
Christ alone, whereby any sinner can be reconciled to 
God ; there being no other propitiation for our sins, no 
other fountain for sin and uncleanness. Every believer 
in Christ is deeply convinced that there is no merit but 
in Him ; that there is no merit in any of his own works ; 
not in uttering the prayer, or searching the Scripture, or 
hearing the word of God, or eating of that bread and 
drinking of that cup. So that if no more be intended by 
the expression some have used, " Christ is the only means 
of grace," than this, — that He is the only meritorious 
cause of it, it cannot be gainsayed by any who know tho 
grace of God. 

5. Yet once more: we allow, though it is a meian- 
sholy truth, that a large proportion of those who are 
called Christians, do to this day abuse the means of 
grace to the destruction of their souls. This is doubtless 
the case with all those who rest content in the form of 
godliness, without the power. Either they fondly pre- 
sume they are Christians already, because they do thus 
and thus, — although Christ was never yet revealed in 
their hearts, nor the love of God shed abroad therein : — 
or else they suppose they shall infallibly bo so, barely 


because they use these means ; idly dreaming, (though 
perhaps hardly conscious thereof,) either that there is 
some kind of power therein, whereby, sooner or later, 
(they know not when,) they shall certainly be made 
holy ; or that there is a sort of mtvit in using them, 
which will surely move God to give them holiness, or 
accept them without it. 

6. So little do they understand that great foundation 
of the whole Christian building, " By grace are ye saved :" 
ye are saved from your sins, from the guilt and power 
thereof, ye are restored to the favour and image of God, 
not for any works, merits, or deservings of yours, 
but by the free grace, the mere mercy of God, through the 
merits of his well-beloved Son : ye are thus saved, not 
by any power, wisdom, or strength which is in you, or 
in any other creature ; but merely through the grace or 
power of the Holy Ghost, which worketh all in all 

7. But the main question remains: "We know this 
salvation is the gift and the work of God; but how 
(may one say who is convinced he hath it not) may I 
attain thereto ?" If you say, " Believe, and thou shalt 
be saved!" he answers, "True; but how shall I be- 
lieve ?" You reply, " Wait upon God." " Well ; but 
how am I to wait ?" " In the means of grace, or out of 
them ? Am I to wait for the grace of God which bringetb 
salvation, by using these means, or by laying them aside ?" 

8. It cannot possibly be conceived, that the word of 
God should give no direction in so important a point ; 
or, that the Son of God who came down from heaven 
for us men and for our salvation, should have left us 
undetermined with regard, to a question wherein our 
salvation is so nearly concerned. 

And, in fact, he hath not left us undetermined ; he 
hath shown us the way wherein we should go. We have 
only to consult the oracles of God ; to inquire what ie 
written there ; and, if we simply abide by their decision, 
there can no possible doubt remain. 

III. 1. According to this, according to the decision 
of holy writ, all who desire the grace of God are to wai< 


for it in the means which he hath ordained ; in using, 
not in laying them aside. 

And, first, all who desire the grace of God are to wait 
for it in the way of prayer. This is the express direc- 
tion of our Lord himself. In his Sermon upon the 
Mount, after explaining at large wherein religion con- 
sists, and describing the main branches of it, he adds, 
" Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; 
knock, and it shall be opened unto you ; for every one that 
asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to 
him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt. vii. 7, 8.) 
Here we are in the plainest manner directed to ask, in 
order to, or as a means of, receiving ; to seek, in order 
to find, the grace of God, the pearl of great price ; and 
to knock, to continue asking and seeking, if we would 
enter into his kingdom. 

2. That no doubt might remain, our Lord labours 
this point in a more peculiar manner. He appeals to 
every man's own heart : " What man is there of you 
who, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone ? or 
if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent ? If ye then, 
being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your chil- 
dren, how much more shall your Father which is in 
heaven," the Father of angels and men, the Father of 
the spirits of all flesh, " give good things to them that 
ask him ?" (Verses 9-11.) Or, as he expresses himself, 
on another occasion, including all good things in one, 
" How much more shall your heavenly Fxther give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" (Luke xi. 13.) It 
should be particularly observed here, that the persons 
directed to ask had not then received the Holy Spirit : 
nevertheless our Lord directs them to use this means, 
and promises that it should be effectual ; that upon 
asking they should receive the Holy Spirit, from him 
whose mercy is over all his works. 

3. The absolute necessity of using this means, if we 
would receive any gift from God, yet further appears 
tYom that remarkable passage which immediately pre- 
cedes these words : " And he said unto them," whom he 
had just been teaching how to pray, '' Which of yon 

rtl«. XVI.] THE MEANS OF MtACR. 331 

shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight 
and shall say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves : 
and he from within shall answer, Trouble me not; 1 
cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he 
will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet 
because of his importunity he will rise and give him as 
many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it 
shall be given you." (Luke xi. 5, 7-9.) "Though 
he will not give him, because -he is his friend, yet be- 
eause of his importunity he will rise and give him as 
many as he needeth." How could our blessed Lord 
more plainly declare, that we may receive of God, by 
this means, by importunately asking, what otherwise we 
should not receive at all ? 

4. " He spake also another parable, to thin end, that 
men ought always to pray, and not to faint," till through 
his means they should receive of God whatsover peti- 
tion they asked of him : " There was in a city a judge 
which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there 
was a widow in that city ; and she came unto him, say- 
ing, Avenge me of my adversary. And he would not 
for a while ; but afterward he said within himself, 
Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this 
widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her con- 
tinual coming she weary me." (Luke xviii. 1-5.) The 
application of this our Lord himself hath made : " Hear 
what the unjust judge saith !" Because she continues 
to ask, because she will take no denial, therefore I will 
ivenge her. " And shall not God avenge his own elect, 
which cry, day and night unto him ? I tell you he will 
wenge them speedily," if they pray and faint not. 

5. A direction, equally full and express, to wait for 

the blessings of God in private prayer, together with a 

positive promise that, by this means, we shall obtain the 

request of our lips, he hath given us in those well-known 

words : " Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut 

thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy 

Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. ' 

(Matt. vi. 6.) 

8. If it be possible for any direction to be more clear, 
lb t-v » 


it is that which God hath given us by the apostle, with 
regard to prayer of every kind, public or private, and 
the blessing annexed thereto : " If any of you lack 
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men 
liberally," if they ask ; otherwise " ye have not, because 
ye ask not," (James iv. 2,) " and upbraideth not ; and 
it shall be given him." (James i. 5.) 

If it be objected, " But this is no direction to unbe- 
lievers ; to them who know not the pardoning grace of 
God : for the apostle adds, ' But let him ask in faith ;' 
otherwise, ' let him not think that he shall receive any- 
thing of the Lord :' " I answer, The meaning of the 
word faith, in this place, is fixed by the apostle himself, 
as if it were on purpose to obviate this objection, in the 
words immediately following : " Let him ask in faith, 
nothing wavering," nothing doubling, ^htv Siaxpivopttvoc. 
not doubting but God heareth his prayer, and will fulfil 
the desire of his heart. 

The gross blasphemous absurdity of supposing faith, 
in this place, to be taken in the full Christian meaning, 
appears hence : it is supposing the Holy Ghost to direct 
a man who knows he has not this faith, (which is here 
termed wisdom,) to ask it of God, with a positive promise 
that " it shall be given him ;" and then immediately tn 
subjoin, " that it shall not be given him ;" unless he have 
it before he asks for it ! But who can bear such a sup- 
position ? From this scripture therefore, as well as 
those cited above, we must infer, that all who desire the 
grace of God are to wait for it in the way of prayer. 

7. Secondly. All who desire the grace of God are to 
wait for it in searching the Scriptures. 

Our Lord's direction, with regard to the use of this 
means, is likewise plain and clear. "Search the Scrip- 
tures," saith he to the unbelieving Jews, "for they testify 
of me " (John v. 39.) And for this very end did he direct 
them to search the Scriptures, that they might believe ii> 

The objection that " this is not a command, but only 
an assertion that they did search the Scriptures," is 
shamelessly false T desire those who urge it, to let ni 


know how a command can be more clearly expressed, 
than in those terms, Eptwart roj ypowfoj. It is as 
peremptory as so many words can make it. 

And what a blessing from God attends the use of this 
means, appears from what is recorded concerning the 
Bereans; who, after hearing St. Paul, "searched the 
Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. There- 
fore many of them believed ;" — found the grace of God, 
in the way which he had ordained. (Acts xvii. 11, 12.) 

It is probable indeed, that in some of those who had 
"received the word with all readiness of mind," "faith 
came," as the same apostle speaks, " by hearing," and was 
only confirmed by reading the Scriptures : but it was ob- 
served above, that, under the general term of searching 
the Scriptures, both hearing, reading, and meditating arc 

8. And that this is a means whereby God not only 
^ives, but also confirms and increases, true wisdom, we 
learn from the words of St. Paul to Timothy : " Prom a 
child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able 
to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in 
Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. iii. 15.) The same truth 
(namely, that this is the great means God has ordained 
for conveying his manifold grace to man) is delivered, in 
the fullest manner that can be conceived, in the words 
which immediately follow : " All Scripture is given by 
inspiration of God ;" consequently, all Scripture is in- 
fallibly true ; " and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, 
for correction, for instruction in righteousness :" to the 
end " that the man of God may be perfect, throughly 
famished unto all good work's." (Verses 16, 17 ) 

9. It should be observed, that this is spoken primarily 
and directly of the Scriptures which Timothy had known 
from a child ; which must have been those of the Old 
Testament, fur the New was not then wrote. How far 
then was St. Paul ("though he was " not a whit behind 
the very chief of the apostles," nor, therefore, I pre- 
Bume, behind any man now upon earth) from making 
light of the Old Testament ! Behold this, lest ye one 
lay " wonder and perish," ye wno make so small account 


of one half of the oracles of God ! Yea and that half 
of which the Holy Ghost expressly deckres, that it is 
" profitable," as a means ordained of God for this very 
thing, " for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in- 
struction in righteousness ;" to the end, "the man of God 
maybe perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 

10. Nor is this profitable only for the men of God, 
for those who walk already in the light of his counte- 
nance ; but also for those who are yet in darkness, seek- 
ing him whom they know not. Thus St. Peter : " We 
have also a more sure word of prophecy :" literally, 
" And we have the prophetic word more sure :" Ko. 
ixoptv ptpaiottpov tov rtpotytj-rixov xoyov j confirmed by 
our being " eye-witnesses of his majesty," and " hearing 
one voice which came from the excellent glory ;" " unto 
which" prophetic word — so he styles the holy Scrip- 
tures — " ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that 
riiineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the 
Day-star arise in your hearts." (2 Peter i 19.) Let 
all therefore who desire that day to dawn upon their 
hearts, wait for it in searching the Scriptures. 

11. Thirdly. All who desire an increase of the grace 
of God are to wait for it in partaking of the Lord's sup- 
per : for this also is a direction himself hath given : 
" The same night in which he was betrayed he took 
bread, and brake it, and said, Take, eat : this is my 
body ;" that is, the sacred sign of my body : " this do iv 
remembrance of me." Likewise " he took the cup, say- 
ing, This cup is the new testament," or covenant, " in 
my blood ;" the sacred sign of that covenant : " this do 
ye in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this 
bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord'j 
death till he come ;" (1 Cor. xi. 23, &c. :) ye openly 
exhibit the same, by these visible signs, before God, and 
angels, and men ; ye manifest your solemn remembrance 
of his death, till he cometh in the clouds of heaven. 

Only " let a man" first " examine himself," whether he 
understand the nature and design of this holy insti- 
tution, and whether he really desire to be himself made 
sonformable to the death of Christ; and so, nothing 


doubting, " let him eat of that bread, and drink of thai 
rap." (Verse 28.) 

Here, then, the direction first given by our Lord is 
expressly repeated by the apostle : " Let him eat ; let 
him drink j" (soOutu, Ttmttu, both in the imperative 
mood ;) words not implying a bare permission only, but 
a clear, explicit command ; a command to all those who 
either already are filled with peace and joy in believing, 
or can truly say, "The remembrance of our sins is 
grievous unto us, the burden of them is intolerable." 

12. And that this is also an ordinary, stated means of 
receiving the grace of God, is evident from those words 
of the apostle which occur in the preceding chapter : 
" The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the com- 
munion," or communication, " of the blood of Christ ? 
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of 
the body of Christ ?" (1 Cor. x. 16.) Is not the eating 
of that Dread, and the drinking of that cup, the outward, 
visible means whereby God conveys into our souls all 
that spiritual grace, that righteousness, and peace, and 
joy in the Holy Ghost, which were purchased by the 
body of Christ once broken, and the blood of Christ once 
shed for us ? Let all, therefore, who truly desire the 
grace of God, eat of that bread and drink of that cup. 

IV. 1. But as plainly as God hath pointed out the 
way wherein he will be inquired after, innumerable are 
the objections which men, wise in their own eyes, have, 
from time to time, raised against it. It may be needful 
to consider a few of these; not because they are of 
weight in themselves, but because they have so often 
been used, especially of late years, to turn the lame out 
of the way ; yea, to trouble and subvert those who did 
run well, till Satan appeared as an angel of light. 

The first and chief of these is, " You cannot use these 

means (as you call them) without trusting in them." 1 

pray where is this written ? I expect you should sic* 

mo plain Scripture for your assertion : otherwise I dare 

not receive it ; because I am not convinced that you are 

wiser than God. 

If it really had Dcen as you assert, it if certain Chru* 
** a 


must have known it. And if he had known it, he would 
surely have warned us ; he would have revealed it long 
ago. Therefore, because he has not, because there is no 
tittle of this in the whole revelation of Jesus Christ, I am 
as fully assured your assertion is false a3 that this reve 
lation is of God. 

" Hawever, leave them off for a short time, to see 
whether you trusted in them or no." So I am to dis- 
obey God, in order to know whether I trust in obeying 
him ! And do you avow this advice ? Do you delibe- 
rately teach to " do evil, that good may come ?" Oh, 
tremble at the sentence of God against such teachers I 
Their " damnation is just." 

" Nay, if you are troubled when you leave them off, it 
is plain you trusted in them." By no means. If I am 
troubled when I wilfully disobey God, it is plain his 
Spirit is still striving with me : but if I am not troubled at 
wilful sin, it is plain I am given up to a reprobate mind. 

But what do you mean by " trusting in them ?" — 
looking for the blessing of God therein ? believing, that 
if I wa>t in this way, I shall attain what otherwise I 
should not ? So I do. And so I will, God being my 
helper, even to my life's end. By the grace of God I will 
thus trust in them, till the day of my death ; that is, I 
will believe, that whatsover God has promised, he is faith • 
ful also to perform. And seeing he hath promised to bless 
me in this way, I trust it shall be according to his word. 

2. It has been, secondly, objected, " This is seeking 
salvation by works." Do you know the meaning of the 
expression you use ? What is seeking salvation by 
works ? In the writings of St. Paul, it means, either 
seeking to be saved by observing the ritual works of the 
Mosaic law ; or expecting salvation for the sake of our 
own works, by tho merit of our own righteousness. But 
how is either of these implied in my waiting in the way 
God has ordained, and expecting that he will meet me 
there, because he h;is promised so to do '! 

I do expect that he will fulfil his word, that he will 
meet and bless me in this way. Yet not for the sako of 
ujy works whioh I havn doue, not foi the merit of ro» 


righteousness ; but merely through the merits, and suffer 
ings, and love of his Son, in whom he is always well pleased 

3. It has been vehemently objected, thirdly, " that 
Christ is the only means of grace." I answer, This ia 
mere playing upon words. Explain your term, and the 
objection vanishes away. When we say, " Prayer is a 
means of grace," we understand a channel through which 
the grace of God is conveyed. When you say, " Christ 
is the means of grace," you understand the sole price 
and purchaser of it ; or, that " no man cometh unto the 
Father, but through him." And who denies it ? But 
this is utterly wide of the question. 

4. "But does not the Scripture" (it has been ob- 
jected, fourthly) " direct us to wait for salvation ? Does 
not David say, ' My soul waiteth upon God : for of him 
cometh my salvation V And does not Isaiah teach us 
the same thing, saying, ' Lord, we have waited for 
thee V " All this cannot be denied. Seeing it is the 
gift of God, we are undoubtedly to wait on him for sal- 
vation. But how shall we wait ? If God himself has 
appointed a way, can you find a better way of waiting 
for him ? But that he hath appointed a way hath been 
shown at large, and also what that way is. The very 
words of the prophet, which you cite, put this out of 
all question. For the whole sentence runs thus : — " In 
the way of thy judgments," or ordinances, " Lord, 
have we waited for thee." (Isaiah xxvi. 8.) And n 
the very same way did David wait, as his own words 
abundantly testify : " I have waited for thy saving health, 
Lord, and have kept thy law. Teach me, Lord, the 
way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end." 

5. " Yea," say some, " but God has appointed an- 
other way : — ' Stand still, and see the salvation of God.' " 

Let us examine the scriptures to which you refer. 
The first of them, with the context, runs thus : — 

" And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Is- 
rael lifted up their eyes; and they were sore afraid. 
And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves 
in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilder- 
ness? And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not 
22 VOL. i. a »* 


stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. And the 
Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the children of Is- 
rael, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, 
and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it : 
tnd the children of Israel shall go on dry ground 
through the midst of the sea." (Exodus xiv. 10, &c.) 

This was the salvation of God, which they stood stiU 
to see, by marching forward with all their might ! 

The other passage, wherein this expression occurs, 
stands thus : " There came some that told Jehoshaphat, 
saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee 
from beyond the sea. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set 
himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast through- 
out all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves toge- 
ther, to ask help of the Lord : even out of all the cities 
they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in 
the congregation, in the house of the Lord. — Then upon 
Jahaziel came the Spirit of the Lord. And he said, Be 
not dismayed by reason of this great multitude. To- 
morrow go ye down against them, ye shall not need to 
fight in this battle. Set yourselves, stand ye still, and 
see the salvation of the Lord. And they rose early in the 
morning, and went forth. And when they began to sing 
and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the 
children of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir ; — and every 
one helped to destroy another." (2 Chron. xx. 2, &c.) 

Such was the salvation which the children of Judah 
saw. But how does all this prove, that we ought not to 
wait for the grace of God in the means which he hatk 

6. I shall mention but one objection more, which, in- 
deed, does not properly belong to this head : neverthe- 
less, because it has been so frequently urged, I may nor 
wholly pass it by. 

" Docs not St. Paul say, ' If ye be dead with Christ, 
why are ye subject to ordinances V (Col. ii. 20.) There- 
fore a Christian, one that is dead with Christ, need not 
use the ordinances any more." 

So you say, " If I am a Christian, I am not subject tc 

the ordinances of Christ 1" Surely, by the absurdity o/ 


this, you must see at the first glance, that the ordinances 
nere mentioned cannot be the ordinances of Christ ; that 
they must needs be the Jewish ordinances, to whwh it is 
certain a Christian is no longer subject. 

And the same undeniably appears from the words im- 
mediately following, " Touch not, taste not, handle not ;" 
all evidently referring to the ancient ordinances of the 
Jewish law. 

So that this objection is the weakest of all. And, in 
spite of all, that great truth must stand unshaken, 1 hat 
all who desire the grace of God are to wait for it in the 
means which he hath ordained. 

V. 1. But this being allowed, that all who desire the 
grace of God are to wait for it in the means he hath or- 
dained ; it may still be inquired, how those means should 
be used, both as to the order and the manner of using 

With regard to the former, we may observe, there is a 
kind of order, wherein God himself is generally pleased 
to use these means in bringing a sinner to salvation A 
stupid, senseless wretch is going on in his own way, not 
having God in all his thoughts, when God comes upon 
him unawares, perhaps by an awakening sermon or con- 
versation, perhaps by some awful providence, or it may 
be, by an immediate stroke of his convincing Spirit, 
without any outward means at all. Having now a de- 
sire to flee from the wrath to come, he purposely goes to 
hear how it may be done. If he finds a preacher who 
speaks to the heart, he is amazed, and begins searching 
the Scriptures, whether these things are so ? The more 
he hears and reads, the ntbre convinced he is ; and the 
more he meditates thereon day and night. Perhaps he 
finds some other book which explains and enforces what 
he has heard and read in Scripture. And by all these 
means, the arrows of conviction sink deeper into his 
soul. He begins also to talk of the things of God, 
which are ever uppermost in his thoughts ; yea, and tc 
talk with God ; to pray to him ; although, through feai 
and shame, he scarce knows what to say. But whether 
He can speak or no, he cannot but pray, were it only in 


"groans which cannot be uttered." Yet. being hi 
doubt, whether " the high and lofty One that inhabitoth 
eternity" will regard such a sinner as him, he grants to 
pray with those who know God, with the faithful, in the 
great congregation. But here he observes others go up 
to the table of the Lord. He considers, " Christ has 
said, ' Do this !' How is it that I do not ' I am too 
(jreat a sinner. I am not fit. I am not worthy." 
After struggling with these scruples awhile, he breaks 
through. And thus he continues in God s way, in 
hearing, reading, meditating, praying, and partaking of 
the Lord's supper, till God, in the manner that pleases 
him, speaks to his heart, " Thy faith hath saved thee. 
Go in peace." 

2. By observing this order of God, we may learn what 
. ^ans to recommend to any particular soul. If any of 
t»»ese will reach a stupid, careless sinner, it is probably 
bearing, or conversation. To such, therefore, we might 
recommend these, if he ha« ever any thought about sal- 
vation. To one who begins to feel the weight of his 
wns, not only hearing the word of God, but reading it, 
too, and perhaps other serious books, may be a means 
of deeper conviction. May you not advise him also to 
meditate on what he reads, that it may have its full 
force upon his heart ? yea, and to speak thereof, and not 
be ashamed, particularly among those who walk in the 
same path ? When trouble and heaviness take hold upon 
him, should you not then earnestly exhort him to pour 
out his soul before God ; " always to pray, and not to 
faint V and when he feels the worthlessness cf his own 
prayers, are you not to work together with God, and re- 
mind him of going up into the house of the Lord, and 
praying with all that fear him ? But if he does this, 
the dying word of his Lord will soon be brought to his 
remembrance ; a plain intimation that this is the time 
when we should second the motions of the blessed Spi- 
rit And thus we may lead him, step by step, through 
all the means which God has ordained ; not according 
to our own will, but just as the providence and the Sp» 
tit of God go before and open the way. 


8. Yet, as we find no command in holy writ for any 
particular order to be observed herein, so neither do the 
providence and the Spirit of God adhere to any without 
variation ; but the means into which different men are 
led, and in which they find the blessing of God, are 
varied, transposed, and combined together, a thousand 
different ways. Yet still our wisdom is to follow the 
leadings of his providence and his Spirit ; to be guided 
Lerein, (more especially as to the means wherein we our- 
selves seek the grace of God,) partly by his outward 
providence, giving us the opportunity of using sometimes 
one means, sometimes another, partly by our experience, 
which it is whereby his free Spirit is pleased most to 
work in our heart. And in the mean time, the sure and 
general rule for all who groan for the salvation of God is 
this, — Whenever opportunity serves, use all the means 
which God has ordained ; for who knows in which God 
will meet thee with the grace that bringeth salvation ? 

4. As to the manner of using them, whereon indeed it 
wholly depends whether they shall convey any grace at 
all to the user ; it behoves us, first, always to retain a 
lively sense that God is above all means. Have a care, 
therefore, of limiting the Almighty. He doeth whatso- 
ever and whensoever it pleaseth him. He can convey 
his grace, either in or out of any of the means which he 
hath appointed. Perhaps he will. " Who hath known 
the mind of the Lord ? or who hath been his counsel- 
lor ?" Look then every moment for his appearing ! Be 
it at the hour you are employed in his ordinances ; or 
before, or after, that hour ; or when you are hindered 
therefrom. He is not hindered; he is always ready, 
always able, always willing to save. " It is the Lord : 
let him do what seemeth him good !" 

S econdly . Before you use any means, let it be deeply 
impressed on your soul, There is no power in this. It 
is, iu itself, a poor, dead, empty thing : separate from 
God, it is a dry leaf, a shadow. Neither is there any 
merit in my using this : nothing intrinsically pleasing 
to God ; nothing whereby I deserve any favour at his 
Vanda, no. not a drop of water to cool my tongue. But, 


because God bids, therefore I do ; because he directs me 
to wait, in this way, therefore here I wait for his free 
mercy whereof cometh my salvation. 

Settle this in your heart, that the opus operatum, the 
mere work done, profiteth nothing; that there is nc 
power to save, but in the Spirit of God, no merit, but in 
the blood of Christ ; that, consequently, even what God 
ordains, conveys no grace to the soul, if you trust not in 
Him alone. On the other hand, he that does truly 
trust in Him cannot fall short of the grace of God, even 
though he were cut off from every outward ordinance, 
though he were shut up in the centre of the earth. 

Thirdly. In using all means, seek God alone. In and 
through every outward thing, look singly to the power 
of his Spirit, and the merits of his Son. Beware you do 
not stick in the work itself: if you do, it is all lost 
labour. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. 
Therefore, eye him in all, through all, and above all 

Remember also, to use all means as means ; as or- 
dained, not for their own sake, but in order to the re- 
newal of your soul in righteousness and true holiness. 
If, therefore, they actually tend to this, well ; but if not, 
they are dung and dross. 

Lastly. After you have used any of these, take care 
how you value yourself thereon ; how you congratulate 
yourself as having donn some great thing. This is tui n- 
ing all into poison. Think, "if God was not there, 
what does this avail ? Have I not been adding sin tc 
sin ? How long ? Lord 1 save, or I perish ! Oh, lay 
not this sin to my charge !" If God was there, if his 
love flowed into your heart, you have forgot, as it were, 
the outward work. You see, you know, you feel, God 
is all in all. Be abased. Sink down before him. Give 
him all the praise. " Let God in all things be glorified 
through Christ Jesus." Let all your bones cry oat, 
" My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of tht 
Lord : with my mouth will I ever be telling of thy trutb 
from one generation to another !" 


Ques. 1. (I. 1.) Are there any ordinances now? 

Ques. 2. (I. 2.) "What followed when love waxed cold? 

Ques. 3. (T. 3.) Did the means conduce to the end? 

Ques. 4. (I. 4.) What is said of the relative number of 
hose who abused and those who despised the ordinances? 

Ques. 5. (1. 5.) What error is here mentioned? 

Ques. 6. (I. 6 ) Does this error spread readily? 

Ques. 7. (II. 1.) What do we understand by grace? 

Ques. 8. (II. 2.) On what does the value of the means de- 

Ques. 9. (II. 3.) Of what service are the means of grace 
rithout the Holy Spirit? 

Ques. 10. (II. 4.) Can the means atone for any sin? 

Ques. 11. (II. 5.) Do many persons abuse them? 

Ques. 12. (II. 6.) Do they understand the gospel? 

Ques. 13. (II. 7.) What inquiry is here made? 

Ques. 14. (II. 8.) Is the Bible silent on this point? 

Ques. 15. (III. 1.) How are we first to wait for the grace 
if God? 

Ques. 16. (III. 2.) Does our Lord emphasize this point? 

Ques. 17. (III. 3.) How does this necessity appear? 

Ques. 18. (III. 4.) What scripture is here quoted? 

Ques. 19. (III. 5.) What other passage in this place? 

Ques. 20. (III. 6.) What is said of these texts? What 
learing have these scriptures on Mr. Campbell's doctrine? 

Ques. 21. (III. 7.) What is the second duty? 

Ques. 22. (III. 8.) Does this means increase true wisdom? 

Ques. 23. (III. 9.) What should be observed? 



Ques. 24. (III. 10.) Does this apply to those who are in 
darkness ? 

Ques. 25. (III. 11.) What is the third means of grace? 

Ques. 20. (III. 12.) Is this an ordinary, stated means? Is 
there any command to take the Supper every Sabbath? 

Ques. 27. (IV 1.) Notwithstanding this, what is first ob- 

Ques. 28. (IV 2.) What is the second objection? 

Ques. 29. (IV 3.) What is the third? 

Ques. 30. (IV- 4.) What is the fourth? 

Ques. 31. (IV. 5.) What objection is here mentioned ? 

Ques. 32. (IV. 6.) What is the last objection? 

Ques. 33. (V- 1.) What inquiry is here made? 

Ques. 34. (V. 2.) What follows when the order of God is 

Ques. 35. (V 3.) Is any particular order enjoined? 

Q>ues. 36. (V. 4.) How does the sermon conclude? 


This sermon was preached before the University of Oxford 
in 1733. Two or three suggestions are worthy of notice. 
In the first place, we learn that a man may have a thorough 
scriptural conception of the gospel without enjoying its com- 
fort and without having entered into the full redemption 
which it contains. In the next place, although Mr. Wesley 
was sincere and as thoroughly in earnest at the time of 
preaching this discourse as he was afterward, it did not 
arouse persecution or provoke resentment. Men do not ob- 
ject to lofty views of Bible truth. It is the bringing home 
of the truth to the personal conscience, and the consequent 
disturbance of the sleep of the soul, that offends. We learn, 
therefore, that preaching becomes to many an offense only 
when the preacher delivers his message with the power 
which heart-experience only can impart. The same sermon 
preached with little effect in 1733 would arouse persecution 
in 1740. The reason is obvious. 

From this sermon, and another delivered about the same 
time on "Grieving the Spirit" (No. CXXXV.), Prof. Bur- 
wash gathers these points: 

1. That his ideal of inward holiness was already very per- 
fectly formed. 

2. That it was an ethical, inwrought holiness, and not a 
mere imputed state. 

3. That he ascribed it to the operation of the Holy Spirit. 

4. That he laid considerable stress on our co-operating 
with the Spirit in this work. 



H. That he did not yet distinguish between the prelimi 
nary, convicting work of the Spirit and regeneration. 

6. That his conception of faith was general and indefinite, 
and hence the supplement to the definition, to which he 
calls attention in the foot-note. 


General ignorance of the deeper truths of religion. They 

are known only by the Spirit of God, hence rejected by the 

natural man. Circumcision of the heart consists not in baj>- 

tism or any other outward form, but in a right state of soul. 

I. Thisstateof thesouldefined. Generally, as holiness. Spe- 
cifically, as: (1) Humility, which, opposed to self-righteous- 
ness, convinces us of sin and of our own inability, from which 
follows disregard of worldly honor. (2) Faith, which reveals 
to us the Christian calling to glorify God and the power of 
God to quicken our souls dead in sin. This faith is an un- 
shaken assent to all Scripture, but specially to the fact that 
Christ has atoned for sin; and is furthermore "a revelation of 
Clirist in our hearts wrought in us by the Holy Ghost." 
This faith delivers from the yoke of sin, gives strong conso- 
lation through hope, and strengthens us to purge the inmost 
recesses of the soul. (3) The perfection of this work re- 
quires charity, which is the love of God, which is not incon- 
sistent with the love of our neighbor or with delight in God's 
gifts, but which makes God the supreme object of delight 
and desire, and seeks and enjoys all other things only as 
they tend to him. 

II. How may I judge myself to possess this state? 

1. Have I deep conviction of the corruption of my nature 
and my want of God? 2. Have I faith of the operation of 
God by his Spirit? 3. Have I a joyous witness of the Spirit? 
Those who possess not these things should deal faithfully 
with themselves. If we would see this kingdom of God we 
must strive, agonize. 

The sum of the perfect law makes God the supreme object 
of affection, of desire, and of intention. 



Puaohbd at St. Mart's, Oxvobd, bktobi thi Uinvuarrir 
January 1, 1788. 

•' Cireumeuion •» that of the heart, in the tpirit, and not m thi 
fetter."— Romans ii. 29. 

1. It is the melancholy remark of an excellent man, 
that he who now preaches the most essential duties of 
Christianity runs the hazard of being esteemed, by a 
great part of his hearers, "a setter forth of new doc- 
trines." Most men have so lived away the substance 
of that religion, the profession whereof they still retain, 
that no sooner are any of those truths proposed which 
difference the Spirit of Christ from the spirit of the 
world, than they cry out, "Thou bringest strange 
things to our ears ; we would know what these things 
mean :" — though he is only preaching to them " Jesus 
and the resurrection," with the necessary consequence 
of it, — If Christ be risen, ye ought then to die unto the 
world, and live wholly unto God. 

2. A hard saying this to the natural man, who is alive 

unto the world, and dead unto God ; and one that be 

will not readily be persuaded to receive as the truth of 

God, unless it be so qualified in the interpretation, as to 

have neither use nor signifitfancy left. He " receiveth 

not the" words " of the Spirit of God," taken in their 

plain and obvious meaning ; " they are foolishness unto 

him : neither" indeed " can he know them, because 

they are spiritually discerned :" — they are perceivable 

only by that spiritual sense, which in him was never 

yet awakened : for want of which he must reject, as idle 

fancies of men, what are both the wisdom and the 

power of God. 

i.— w s 


8. That "circumcision is that of the heart, in the 
spirit, and not in the letter," — that the distinguishing 
mark of a true follower of Christ, of one who is in a 
state of acceptance with God, is not either outward cir- 
cumcision, or baptism, or any other outward form, but a 
right state of soul, a mind and spirit renewed after the 
image of Him that created it, — is one of those important 
truths that can only be spiritually discerned. And this 
the apostle himself intimates in the next words, — 
" Whose praise is not of men, but of God." As if he 
had said, " Expect not, whoever thou art, who thus fol- 
lowest thy great Master, that the world, the men who 
follow him not, will say, ' Well done, good and faith- 
ful servant !' Know that the circumcision of the 
heart, the seal of thy calling, is foolishness with the 
world. Be content to wait for thy applause till the 
day of thy Lord's appearing. In that day shalt thou 
have praise of God, in the great assembly of men and 

I design, first, particularly to inquire wherein this 
circumcision of the heart consists; and secondly, to 
mention some reflections that naturally arise from such 
an inquiry. 

1. 1. T *<n. first, to inquire wherein that circumci- 
sion of '■** neart consists, which will receive the praise 
of God In general we may observe, it is that habitual 
disposition or soul which, in the sacred writings, i? 
termed holiness; and which directly implies the being 
cleansed from sin, " from all filthiness both of flesh and 
spirit;' and, by consequence, the being endued with 
those virtues which were also in Christ Jesus; the 
being so " renewed in the spirit of our mind," as to be 
" perfect as our Father in heavea is perfect." 

2. To be more particular : Circumcision of heart 
implies humility, faith, hope, and charity. Humility, 
% right judgment of ourselves, cleanses our minds from 
iiose high conceits of our own perfections, from thai 
anduo opinion of our own abilities and attainments, 
which are the genuine fruit of a corrupted nature. Thu 


entirely cuts off that vain thought, " I am nuh, and 
wise, and have ueed of nothing j" and convinces us that 
we are by nature " wretched, and poor, and miserable, 
and blind, and naked." It convinces us, that in our 
best estate we are, of ourselves, all sin and vanity ; that 
confusion, and ignorance, and error reign over our 
understanding; that unreasonable, earthly, sensual, 
devilish passions usurp authority over our will; in a 
word, that there is no whole part in our soul, that all 
the foundations of our nature are out of course. 

3. At the same time we are convinced, that we are 
not sufficient of ourselves to help ourselves ; that, with- 
out the Spirit of God, we can do nothing but add sin to 
sin ; that it is He alone who worketh in us by his al- 
mighty power, either to will or do that which is good ; 
it being as impossible for us even to think a good 
thought, without the supernatural assistance of his 
Spirit, as to create ourselves, or to renew our whole 
souls in righteousness and true holiness. 

4. A sure effect of our having formed this right judg- 
ment of the sinfulness and helplessness of our nature, 
is a disregard of that " honour which cometh of man," 
which is usually paid to some supposed excellency in 
us. He who knows himself, neither desires nor values 
the applause which he knows he deserves not. It ip 
therefore " a very small thing with him, to be judged bj 
man's judgment." He has all reason to think, by com- 
paring what it has said, either for or against him, with 
what he feels in his own breast, that the world, as well 
as the god of this world, was " a liar from the beginning." 
And even as to those who ar*e not of the world ; though 
he would choose, if it were the will of God, that they 
should account of him as of one desirous to be found a 
faithful steward of his Lord's goods, if haply this might 
be a means of enabling him to be of more use to his 
fellow-servants, yet as this is the one end of his wishing 
for their approbation, so he does not at all rest upon it : 
for he is assured, that whatever God wills, he can 
never want instruments to perform ; since he is »ble 

350 circumcision op the heart, [see. xvn 

even of these stones, to raise up servants to do hit 

5. This is that lowliness of mind, which they have 
learned of Christ, who follow his example and tread in 
his steps. And this knowledge of their disease, whereby 
they are more and more cleansed from one part of it, 
pride and vanity, disposes them to embrace, with 8 
willing mind, the second thing implied in circumcision 
of the heart, — that faith which alone is able to make 
them whole, which is the one medicine given under 
heaven to heal their sickness. 

6. The best guide of the blind, the surest light of 
hem that are in darkness, the most perfect instructor 
)f the foolish, is faith. But it must be such a faith as 
s "mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong- 
lolds," — to the overturning all the prejudices of corrupt 
eason, all the false maxims revered among men, all 
jvil customs and habits, all that " wisdom of the world 
ffhich is foolishness with God ;" as " casteth down ima- 
ginations," reasonings, " and every high thing that 
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and 
bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience 
)f Christ." 

7. " All things are possible to him that" thus " be- 
je veth." ' The eyes of his understanding being enlight- 
sned," he sees what is his calling ; even to glorify G«d, 
who hath bought him with so high a price, in his body 
and in his spirit, which now are God's by redemption, 
as well as by creation. He feels what is " the exceed 
ing greatness of his power," who, as he raised up Christ 
from the dead, so is able to quicken us, dead in sin, 
"by his Spirit which dwelleth in us." "This is the 
victory which overcometh the world, even our faith;" 
that faith, which is not only an unshaken assent to all 
that God hath revealed in Scripture, — and in particular 
to those important truths, " Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners;" " He bare our sins in his own 
body on the tree ;" " He is the propitiation for our sins, 
»ad not for ours only, but »]<•« ft>r the sins of the whole 


world ;"* — but likewise the revelation of Christ in our 
hearts ; a divine evidence or conviction of his love, his 
free, unmerited love to me a sinner; a sure confidence 
in his pardoning mercy, wrought in us by the Holy 
Ghost; a confidence, whereby every true believer is 
enabled to bear witness, " I know that my Redeemer 
liveth," that I have an " Advocate with the Father," 
and that " Jesus Christ the righteous" is my Lord, and 
"the propitiation for my sins," — I know he hath "loved 
me, and given himself for me," — He hath reconciled me, 
even me, to God ; and I " have redemption through his 
blood, even the forgiveness of sins." 

8. Such a faith as this cannot fail to show evidently 
the power of Him that inspires it, by delivering his 
children from the yoke of sin, and " purging their con- 
sciences from dead works;" by strengthening them so, 
that they are no longer constrained to obey sin in the 
desires thereof; but, instead of " yielding their members 
unto it, as instruments of unrighteousness," they now 
" yield themselves" entirely " unto God, as those that 
are alive from the dead." 

9. Those who are thus by faith born of God have also 
strong consolation through hope. This is the next 
thing which the circumcision of the heart implies ; even 
the testimony of their own spirit with the Spirit which 
witnesses in their hearts that they are the children of 
God. Indeed it is the same Spirit who works in them 
that ilear and cheerful confidence that their heart is up- 
right toward God ; th> *> good assurance, that they now 
do, through his grace, the things which are acceptable 
in his sight ; that they are noW in the path which leadeth 
to life, and shall, by the mercy of God, endure therein 
to the end. It is he who givcth them a lively expecta- 
tion of receiving all good things at God's hand ; a joy 
ous prospect of that crown of glory which is reserve* 
in heaven for them. By this anchor a Christian is kept 

* N B. — The following part of this paragraph is now added v 
fee Sermon formerly preached. 

17 W2 


steady in the midst of the waves of this troublesome 
world, and preserved from striking upon either of those 
fatal rocks, — presumption or despair. He is neithei 
discouraged by the misconceived severity of his Lord, 
noi does he " despise the riches of his goodness." He 
neither apprehends the difficulties of the race set before 
him to be greater than he has strength to conquer, nor 
expects them to be so little as to yield in the conquest 
iill he has put forth all his strength. The experience 
he already has in the Christian warfare, as it assures 
him his " labour is not in vain," if " whatever bis hand 
findeth to do, he doeth it with his might j" so it forbids 
his entertaining so vain a thought, as that he can other- 
wise gain any advantage ; as that any virtue can be 
shown, any praise attained, by faint hearts and feeble 
hands; or, indeed, by any but those who pursue the 
same course with the great apostle of the Gentiles: 
" I," says he, " so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, 
not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my 
body, and bring it into subjection ; lest by any means, 
when I have preached to others, I myself should be a 

10. By the same discipline is every good soldier of 
Christ to inure himself to endure hardship. Confirmed 
and strengthened by this, he will be able not only to 
renounce the works of darkness, but every appetite too, 
and every affection, which is not subject to the law of 
God. For " every one," saith St. John, " who hath 
this hope, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." It is 
his daily care, by the grace of God in Christ, and through 
the blood of the covenant, to purge the inmost recesses 
of his soul from the lusts that before possessed and de- 
filed it ; from uncleanness, and envy, and malice, and 
wrath ; from every passion and temper that is after the 
flesh, that either springs from or cherishes his native 
corruption : as well knowing, that he whose very body ii 
the temple of God ought to admit into it nothing com- 
mon or unclean ; and that holiness becometh that hous« 
f oi ever where the Spirit nf holiness vouchsafes to dwell 


11. Tet lackest thou one thing, whosoever thou art, 
that to a deep humility, and a steadfast faith, hast joined 
a lively hope, and thereby in a good measure cleansed 
thy heart from its inbred pollution. If thou wilt be 
perfect, add to all these, charity ; add love, and thou 
hast the circumcision of the heart. "Love is the ful- 
filling of the law, the end of the commandment." Very 
excellent things are spoken of love : it is the essence, 
the spirit, the life of all virtue. It is not only the first 
and great command, but it is all the commandments in 
one. " Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things 
are pure, whatsoever things are amiable," or honour- 
able ; " if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," 
they are all comprised in this one word, — love. In 
this is perfection, and glory, and happiness. The royal 
law of heaven and earth is this, "Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." 

12. Not that this forbids us to love any thing beside* 
God : it implies that we love our brother also. Nor yet 
does it forbid us (as some have strangely imagined) to 
take pleasure in any thing but God. To suppose this, 
is to suppose the Fountain of holiness is directly the 
author of sin ; since he has inseparably annexed plea- 
sure to the use of those creatures which are necessary to 
sustain the life he has given us. This, therefore, can 
never be the meaning of his command. What the real 
sense of it is, both our blessed Lord and his apostles 
tell us too frequently and too plainly, to be misunder- 
stood. They all with one mouth bear witness, that the 
true meaning of those several declarations, " The Lord 
thy God is one Lord;" "Thou shalt have no other 
gods but me ;" " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy strength ;" " Thou shalt cleave unto him ;' 
•' The desire of thy soul shall be to his name ;" — is no 
)ther than this : The one perfect God shall be your 
one ultimate end. One thing shall ye desire for its own 
lake, — the fruition of Him that is All in all. One hap 
piness shall ye propose to your souls, even a unior 

23 vol. I. V • 


with Him that made them ; the having " fellowship with 
the Father and the Son ;" the being joined to the Lord 
in one Spirit. One design you are to pursue to the end 
of time, the enjoyment of God in time and in eternity. 
Desire other things, so far as they tend to this. Love 
the creature as it leads to the Creator. But in every 
step you take, be this the glorious point that terminates 
your view. Let every affection, and thought, and word, 
and work be subordinate to this. Whatever ye desire 
or fear, whatever ye seek or shun, whatever ye think, 
speak, or do, be it in order to your happiness in God, 
the sole End, as well as Source, of your being. 

13. Have no end, no ultimate end, but God. Thus 
our Lord : " One thing is needful ;" and if thine eye bo 
singly fixed on this one thing, " thy whole body shall be 
full of light." Thus St. Paul : " This one thing I do ; 
I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling 
in Christ Jesus." Thus St. James : "Cleanse your 
hands, ye sinners ; and purify your hearts, ye double- 
minded." Thus St. John : " Love not the world, 
neither the things that are in the world. For all that 
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, 
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the 
world." The seeking happiness in what gratifies either 
the desire of the flesh, by agreeably striking upon the 
outward senses ; the desire of the eye, of the imagina- 
tion, by its novelty, greatness, or beauty ; or the pride 
of life, whether by pomp, grandeur, power, or, the usual 
oonscquence of them, applause and admiration ; — " is 
not of the Father," cometh not from, neither is approved 
by, the Father of spirits; " but of the world :" it is the 
distinguishing mark of those who will not have Him to 
reign over them. 

II. 1. Thus have I particularly inquired, what that 
circumcision of heart is, which will obtain the praise of 
Qod. I am, in the second place, to mention some re- 
flections that naturally arise from such an inquiry, as a 
plain rule whereby every man may judge of himself, 
whether he be of the world or of God 


And, first, it is clear from what has been said, that no 
man has a title to the praise of God, unless his heart is 
oircumcised by humility ; unless he is little, and base, 
and vile in his own eyes j unless he is deeply convinced 
of that inbred " corruption of his nature," "whereby ht 
Is very far gone from original righteousness," being 
prone to all evil, averse to all good, corrupt and abomi- 
nable ; having a " carnal mind which is enmity against 
God, and is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed 
can be;" unless he continually feels in his inmost soul, 
that without the Spirit of God resting upon him, he can 
neither think, nor desire, nor speak, nor act any thing 
good, or well-pleasing in his sight. 

No man, I say, has a title to the praise of God, till he 
feels his want of God ; nor indeed, till he seeketh that 
" honour which cometh of God" only ; and neither de- 
sires nor pursues that which cometh of man, unless so 
far only as it tends to this. 

2. Another truth, which naturally follows from what 
has been said, is, that none shall obtain the honour that 
cometh of God, unless his heart be circumcised by faith ; 
even a " faith of the operation of God :" unless, refusing 
to be any longer led by his senses, appetites, or pas- 
sions, or even by that blind leader of the blind, so 
idolized by the world, natural reason, he lives and walks 
by faith ; directs every step, as " seeing Him that is 
invisible ;" " looks not at the things that are seen, 
which are temporal, but at the things that are not seen, 
which are eternal ;" and governs all his desires, designs, 
and thoughts, all his actions and conversations, as one 
who is entered in within the veil, where Jesus sits at 
the right hand of God. 

3. It were to be wished, that they were better ac- 
quainted with this faith who employ much of their time 
and pains in laying another foundation : in grounding 
religion on the eternal fitness of things, on the intrinsic 
ejcceMenct of virtue, and the beauty of actions flowing 
from it ; on the reasons, as they term them, of good and 

evil, and the relations of beings to each other Either 



these accounts of the grounds of Christian duty coincide 
with the scriptural or not. If they do, why arc well 
meaning men perplexed, and drawn from the weightiei 
matters of the law, by a cloud of terms, whereby the 
easiest truths are explained into obscurity ? If thej 
are not, then it behoves them to consider who is the 
author of this new doctrine ; whether he is likely to be 
an angel from heaven, who preacheth another gospel 
than that of Christ Jesus ; though, if he were, God, 
not we, hath pronounced his sentence : " Let him be 

4. Our gospel, as it knows no other foundation of 
good works than faith, or of faith than Christ, so it 
clearly informs us, we are not his disciples while we 
either deny him to be the Author, or his Spirit to be the 
Inspirer and Perfecter, both of our faith and works. 
" If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his." He alone can quicken those who are dead unto 
God, can breathe into them the breath of Christian life, 
and so prevent, accompany, and follow them with his 
grace, as to bring their good desires to good effect. And, 
" As many as are thus led by the Spirit of God, they 
are the sons of God." This is God's short and plain 
account of true religion and virtue ; and " other founda- 
tion can no man lay." 

5. From what has been said, we may. thirdly, learn, 
lhat none is truly " led by the Spirit," unless that 

' Spirit bear witness with his spirit, that he is a child 
of God ;" unless he sec the prize and the crown before 
him, and "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." So 
greatly have they erred who have taught that, in serving 
God, we ought not to have a view to our own happi- 
ness ! Nay, bnt we are often and expressly taught of 
God, to have " respect unto the recompence of reward ;" 
to balance the toil with the "joy set before us," these 
" light afflictions" with that " exceeding weight of 
glory." Yea, we are " aliens to the covenant of pro 
arise," we are " without God in the world," until God 
'' of his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again iu>to f 


living hope of the inheritance incorruptible, undented 
and that fadeth not away." 

6. But if these things are so, it is high time fc* 
those persons to deal faithfully with their own souls, 
who are so far from finding in themselves this joyful 
assurance that they fulfil the terms, and shall obtain the 
promises, of that covenant, as to quarrel with the cove- 
nant itself, and blaspheme the terms of it ; to complain, 
they are too severe, and that no man ever did or shall 
live up to them. What is this but to reproach God, as 
if he were a hard Master, requiring of his servants more 
than he enables them to perform ? — as if he had mocked 
the helpless works of his hands, by binding them to 
impossibilities ; by commanding them to overcome, 
where neither their own strength nor his grace was 
sufficient for them ? 

7. These blasphemers might almost persuade those 
to imagine themselves guiltless, who, in the contrary 
extreme, hope to fulfil the commands of God without 
taking any pains at all. Vain hope ! that a child of 
Adam should ever expect to see the kingdom of Christ 
and of God without striving, without agonizing, first 
" to enter in at the strait gate ;" — that one who was> 
" conceived and born in sin," and whose " inward parts 
are very wickedness," should once entertain a thought 
of being " purified as his Lord is pure," unless he tread 
in his steps, and " take up his cross daily ;" unless h« 
" cut off his right band," and " pluck out the right eye, 
and cast it from him ;" — that he should ever dream of 
shaking off his old opinions, passions, tempers, of being 
" sanctified throughout in spirit, soul, and body," with- 
out a constant and continued course of general self- 
denial ! 

8. What less than this can we possibly infer from the 
above-cited words of St. Paul, who, living " in infirmi- 
ties, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in 
distresses" for Christ's sake ; — who, being full of " signs, 
and wonders, and mighty deeds," — who, having been 
''caught up into the third heaven," — yet reckoned, a* 


a late author strongly expresses it, that all his virtues 
would be insecure, and even his salvation in danger, 
without this constant self-denial ? " So run I," says he, 
" not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth 
the air : ' by which he plainly teaches us, that he who 
does not thus run, who does not thus deny himself 
daily, does run uncertainly, and fighteth to as little pur- 
pose as he that " beateth the air." 

9. To as little purpose does he talk of " fighting the 
fight of faith," as vainly hope to attain the crown of in- 
corruption, (as we may, lastly, infer from the preceding 
observations,) whose heart is not circumcised by love. 
Love, cutting off both the lust of the flesh, the lust of 
the eye, and the pride of life, — engaging the whole man, 
body, soul, and spirit, in the ardent pursuit of that one 
object, — is so essential to a child of God, that, with- 
out it, whosoever liveth is counted dead before him 
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of 
angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a 
tinkling cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy, 
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and 
though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and 
have not love, I am nothing." " Nay, though I give 
all my goods to feed the poor, and my body to be 
burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing." 

10. Here, then, is the sum of the perfect law; this 
is the true circumcision of the heart. Let the spirit 
return to God that gave it, with the whole train of its 
affections. " Unto the place from whence all the rivers 
came," thither let them flow again. Other sacrifices 
from us he would not ; but the living sacrifice of the 
heart he hath chosen. Let it be continually offered up 
to God through Christ, in flames of holy love. And let 
no creature be suffered to share with him : for he is a 
jealous God. His throne will he not divide with an- 
>thcr; he will reign without a rival. Be no design, no 
desire admitted there, but what has Him for its ultimate 
object. This is the way wherein those children of God 
on«o walked, who, being dead, still speak to as: " De- 



sire not to live but to praise bis name : let all your 
thoughts, words, and works tend to his glory. Set your 
heart firm on him, and on other things only as they are 
in and from him. Let your soul be filled with so entire 
a love of him, that you may love nothing but for his 
sake." " Have a pure intention of heart, a steadfast 
regard to his glory in all your actions." "Fix your 
eye upon the blessed hope of your calling, and make all 
the things of the world minister unto it." For then, 
and not till then, is that " mind in us which was also 
in Christ Jesus," when, in every motion of our heart, 
in every word of our tongue, in every work of our hands, 
wc " pursue nothing but in relation to him, and in sub- 
ordination to his pleasure;" when we, too, neither think, 
uor speak, nor act, to fulfil our " own will, but the will 
of him that sent us ;" when, whether we " eat, or drink, 
or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God." 


God of all power, and truth, and grace, 
Which shall from age to age endure ; 

Whose word, when heaven and earth shall paaa, 
Remains and stands forever sure : 

That I thy mercy may proclaim, 

That all mankind thy truth may see, 

Hallow thy great and glorious name, 
And perfect holiness in me. 

i.~x u 

;5G0 riYMN 

Thy sanctifying Spirit pour, 

To quench my thirst and make mc clear 
.Vow, Father, let the gracious shower 

Descend, and make me pure from sin. 

Purge me from every sinful blot ; 

My idols all be cast aside ; 
Cleanse me from every sinful thought, 

From all the filth of self and pride. 

Give me a new, a perfect heart, 

From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free 

The mind which was in Christ impart, 
And let my spirit cleave to thee. 

Oh, take this heart of stone away ! 

Thy sway it doth not, cannot own : 
In me no longer let it stay ; 

Oh, take away this heart of stone 1 

Oh th:it I now, from sin released, 

Thy word may to the utmost prove 

Enter into the promised rest, 

The Canaan of thy perfect love ! 


Ques. 1. (% 1.) What remark is here quoted ? 

Ques. 2. (1[ 2.) To whom is this a hard saying? 

Ques. 3. (Tf 3.) Is the distinguishing mark inward or out- 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What is the first inquiry ? 

Ques. 5 (I. 2.) What does the circumcision imply? 

Ques. 6. (I. 3.) Can we do this of ourselves? 

Ques. 7. (I. 4.) What is said of the honor that comes from 

Ques. 8. (I. 5.) What is said of those who follow Christ? 

Ques. 9. (I. 6.) What is the best guide ? 

Ques. 10. (I. 7.) What is said of the believer? 

Ques. 11. (I. 8.) How is the power of faith shown? 

Ques. 12. (I. 9.) What is the next thing implied? 

Ques. 13. (I. 10.) What is said of the discipline of a true 
soldier of Christ? 

Ques. 14. (I. 11.) What is the one thing lacking? 

Ques. 15. (I. 12.) Does this forbid the love of any thing 
besides God ? 

Ques. 16. (I. 13.) What is the ultimate end to be sought? 

Ques. 17. (II. 1.) What is first made clear? 

Ques. 18. (II. 2.) What other truth naturally follows? 

Ques. 19. (II. 3.) What is said of those who endeavor to 
lay another foundation? 

Ques. 20. (II. 4.) What is the foundation of good works? 

Ques. 21. (II. 5.) What may we learn thirdly ? 

Ques. 22. (II. 6.) What is important if these things be so? 

Ques. 23. (II. 7.) What is said of the blasphemers ? 



Ques. 24. (II. 8.) What do we infer from the words of St. 

Ques. 25. (II. 9.) What is said of him whose heart is not 
°ircu incised by love? 

Ques. 20. (II. 10.) What is the sum of the perfect law? 

Ques. 27. (II. 10.) How does the sermon conclude? 


" The present sermon is not in any proper sense of the 
term controversial," says Burwash, " but is a simple exposi- 
tion of the gospel salvation upon the basis of the word of 
God and in the light of Christian experience. The relig- 
ion of Christ has already been presented to us under two 
aspects: 1. A new relation to God. 2. A new subjective 
experience of freedom from guilt and inward peace and as- 
surance. It now comes before us under a third aspect — a 
new set of affections, of motives of life. The three aspects are 
distinct, but are inseparably one; the new relations give rise 
to new emotions; and out of these new emotions comes forth 
a new and abiding character. It is the soul's entrance on 
the new life of this character which Mr. Wesley specifically 
regards as the new birth. In the latter part of the sermon 
Mr. Wesley allows that the term ' new birth ' is used in all 
the standards of the Church of England in a different sense 
from this, to designate the new relationship in which a man 
is placed to God and his Church in the ordinance of bap- 
tism. Of this baptismal regeneration there are two defini- 
tions^ — one outward and formal, as the act by which a man 
enters the visible Church, or. family of God; the other 
inward and operative, the communication to the soul of a 
germ, or seed, of divine grace. It is most likely that Mr. 
Wesley held this latter view, and regarded all men — or the 
great mass of them — as having 'sinned away the grace of 
their baptism.' But whatever may have been his interpre- 
tations of the Church formularies, he puts them here com- 
7 363 


pletely aside, and preaches only the Arminian Methodist 
doctrine of the new birth as an inward change of nature, 
inseparably associated with a change of relation to God, and 
a profound crisis of religious experience. 

"In the theology of the Reformation the term 'regenera- 
tion ' was made to include the entire secret operation of the 
Spirit by which man was brought from a state of nature to 
a state of grace, and finally of full salvation, whether this 
operation was conditional on baptism, as with the Lutherans, 
or on the secret decree of God, as with Calvin. The spe- 
cific definition of regeneration, which we believe to be 
scriptural, and which is now almost universally accepted by 
Protestants (see Hodge's ' Systematic Theology,' vol. iii., p. 
5), the modern Christian Church owes to Methodism. 

"To this view of regeneration, with the corresponding 
views of justification, justifying faith, and assurance, is large- 
ly due the power of revival preaching both in the last cent 
ury and the present. This entire system of the doctrine of 
salvation sets before men something so definite as the test of 
their moral and religious condition that every man's con- 
science must respond with a definite 'Yes' or 'No' to the 
question, 'Am I saved?' It is throughout the doctrine of a 
present and a conscious salvation. Any doctrine of an elec- 
tion from all eternity, or of a personal redemption com- 
pleted unconditionally in Christ, or of sacramental salva- 
tion, the germ of which is implanted in baptism, and which 
is gradually and unconsciously carried forward to perfection 
by the means of grace, can never be made the basis of such 
appeal to the unconverted as is founded upon the doctrine 
before us." 

Some of the greatest controversies that have agitated the 
Christian world have arisen from the diversity of opinions 
concerning baptism. As early as the middle of the second 
century we find in the works of Justin Martyr, and in Ter- 
tullian and Irenoeus a little later, the use of the figurative 
language of the New Testament in a literal sense. The 


lamer of regeneration became the ordinary term for the baptis- 
mal font, and at this point began the series of departures 
from New Testament doctrine which ultimately led to the 
Roman Catholic theology. Augustine and Pelagius early 
in the fifth century began their great controversy with the 
question whether an unbaptized child, dying in infancy, 
could be saved. Augustine argued that all unbaptized chil- 
dren perished, and Pelagius took the opposite ground. On 
this basis, then, that baptism was the instrument of regenera- 
tion, it became the current doctrine that there was no salva- 
tion without it. ■ 

Infant baptism was the only form of the ordinance known 
to the Church of England until the year 1661. The English 
Prayer-book of 1549 contains two forms — one for the public 
and the other for the private baptism of infants. After the 
Restoration, Bishop Sanderson states, in the Preface to the 
Prayer-book of 1661, that it was thought expedient to add 
"an office for the baptism of such as are of riper years, 
which, although not so necessary when the former book was 
compiled, yet, by the growth of Anabaptism, through the 
licentiousness of the late times crept in among us, now be- 
came necessary, and may be always useful for the baptizing 
of natives of our plantations and others converted to the 

The prevalence of infant baptism is as clearly demon- 
strated in the history of the Church as the doctrine of bap- 
tismal regeneration. The Eeformation in the sixteenth 
century began the work of return to an evangelical theology, 
and the Puritans contributed somewhat to the same result; 
but it was left to the Methodists of the eighteenth century 
to restore the doctrine of the new birth to the Church, and 
to place the practice of infant baptism on its true basis. 

The sermon not intended to define, but to point out, the 
marks of the new birth. 


I. Faith. Gal. iii. 26; John i. 12, 13 ; 1 John v. 1. Not bare 
assent, or intellectual faith; but beyond this "a disposition 
wrought by God in the heart." This implies a preceding 
sense of sin. It is invariably followed by power over sin. 
(See Rom. vi.; also 1 John iii. 1, etc.) It is also followed by 
peace. Rom. v. 1; John xiv. 27; xvi. 33. 

II. Hope. 1 Pet. i. 3. Called also full assurance. Includ- 
ing the witness of our own spirit and the witness of God's 
Spirit. Rom. viii. 15-17. This hope is the source of the^ 
Christian's joy. Rom. v. 2 ; 1 Pet. i. 5. 

III. Love. Rom. v. 5. From love to God springs love to 
our neighbor. Manifest in outward works, but not a mere 
outward service. 

IV. Application. Such being the marks, are you thus 
born of God? Not what you were made in baptism, but 
what are you now? Baptism avails nothing if ye are now 
the children of the devil. 



11 So m every one that it born of the Spiit." — John iii. 8 

1. How is every one that is "born of the Spirit,"— 
that is, born again, — born of God ? What is meant by 
the being born again, the being born of God, or being 
born of the Spirit ? What is implied in the being a son 
or a ohild of God, or having the Spirit of adoption ? 
That these privileges, by the free mercy of God, are 
ordinarily annexed to baptism (which is thence termed 
by our Lord, in the preceding verse, the being " born of 
water and of the Spirit") we knowj but we would 
know what these privileges are : what is the new birth ? 

2. Perhaps it is not needful to give a definition of 
this, seeing the Scripture gives none. But as the 
question is of the deepest concern to every child of 
man; since, "except a man be born again," born of 
the Spirit, " he cannot see the kingdom of God ;" I 
propose to lay down the marks of it in the plainest 
manner, just as I find them laid down in Scripture. 

I. 1. The first of these, and the foundation of all 
the rest, is faith. So St. Paul, "Ye are the children of 
God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal. iii. 26.) So St. 
John, "To them gave he power" (s%ovouu>, right oi 
privilege, it might rather be translated) " to become the 
sons of God, even to them that believe on his name ; 
which were born," when they believed, " not of blood, 
nor of the will of the flesh," not by natural generation, 
•' nor of the will of man," like those children adopted 
by men, in whom no inward change is thereby wrought, 
"but of God." (John i. 12, 13.) And again, in his 
General Epistle, " Whosoever believeth that Jesus it 
the Christ is born of God." (1 John v. 1.) 


2 But it is not a barely notional or speculative faitfc 
that is here spoken of by the apostles. It is not a bare 
assent to this proposition, " Jesus is the Christ ;" nor 
indeed to all the propositions contained in our creed, or 
in the Old and New Testament. It is not merely aD 
assent to any or all these credible things, as credible. 
To say this, were to say (which who could hear ?) that 
the devils were born of God ; for they have this faith. 
They, trembling, believe, both that Jesus is the Christ, 
and that all Scripture, having been given by inspiration 
of God, is true as God is true. It is not only an assent 
to divine truth, upon the testimony of God, or upon the 
evidence of miracles ; for they also heard the words of 
his mouth, and knew him to be a faithful and true wit- 
ness. They could not but receive the testimony he 
gave, both of himself, and of the Father which sent 
him. They saw likewise the mighty works which he 
did, and thence believed that he " came forth from 
God." Yet, notwithstanding this faith, they are still 
" reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of 
the great day." 

3. For all this is no more than a dead faith. The 
true, living, Christian faith, which whosoever hath is 
born of God, is not only assent, an act of the under- 
standing ; but a disposition, which God hath wrought in 
his heart; "a sure trust and confidence in God, that, 
through the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and 
he reconciled to the favour of God." This implies, that, 
a man first renounce himself; that, in order to be 
" found in Christ," to be accepted through him, he to- 
tally rejects all "confidence in the flesh ;" that, "having 
nothing to pay," having no trust in his own works or 
righteousness of any kind, he comes to God as a lost, 
miserable, self-destroyed, self-condemned, undone, help- 
less sinner; as one whose mouth is utterly stopped, 
and who is altogether "guilty before God." Such a 
sense of sin, (commonly called " despair," by those who 
speak evil of the things they know not,) together with 
a full conviction, such as no words ran express, that of 



Christ only cometh our salvation, and an earnest desiri 
of that salvation, must precede a living faith, a trust in 
Him, who " for us f <id our ransom by his death, and 
fulfilled the law in his life." This faith then, whereby 
we are born of God, is " not only a belief of all the 
articles of our faith, but also a true confidence of the 
mercy of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

4. An immediate and constant fruit of this faith 
whereby we are born of God, a fruit which can in no 
wise be separated from it, no not for an hour, is power 
over sin ; — power over outward sin of every kind ; ovei 
every evil word and work ; for wheresoever the blood of 
Christ is thus applied, it " purgeth the conscience from 
dead works ;" — and over inward sin ; for it purifieth the 
heart from every unholy desire and temper. This fruit 
of faith St. Paul has largely described, in the sixth 
chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. " How shall we," 
with he, " who" by faith " are dead to sin, live any 
longer therein?" "Our old man is crucified with 
Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that 
henceforth we should not serve sin." — " Likewise, reckon 
ye yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore 
reign" even " in your mortal body ;" " but yield your- 
selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead." 
" For sin shall not have dominion over you. — God be 
thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, — but being 
made free," — the plain meaning is, God be thanked, 
that though ye were, in time past, the servants of sin, 
yet now, " being free from sin, ye are become the ser- 
vants of righteousness." • 

5. The same invaluable privilege of the sons of God 
is as strongly asserted by St. John ; particularly with 
regard to the former branch of it, namely, power over 
outward sin. After he had been crying out, as one as- 
tonihhed at the depth of the riches of the goodness of 
God, — " Behold, what manner of love the Father hath 
bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons 
»f God ! Beloved, now are we the sons of God : and il 
24 W vol. i. * a • 


doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know 
that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we 
shall sec him as he is ;" (1 John iii. 1, &c. ;) — he soon 
adds, " Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; 
for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin 
because he is born of God." (\erse 9.) But some men 
will say, " True : whosoever is born of God doth r. ot 
commit sin habitually." Habitually ! Whence is that ? 
I read it not. It is not written in the Book. God 
plainly saith, " He doth not commit sin ;" and thou 
addest habitually! Who art thou that mendest the ora- 
cles of God? — that "addest to the words of this book?" 
Beware, I beseech thee, lest God " add to thee all the 
plagues that are written therein !" especially when the 
comment thou addest is such as quite swallows up the 
text : so that by this ptOoSt ia 7txav7ji, this artful method 
of deceiving, the precious promise is utterly lost; by 
this xvfieta avdputtuv, this tricking and shuffling of men, 
the word of God is made of none effect. Oh, beware, 
thou that thus takest from the words of this book, 
that, taking away the whole meaning and spirit from 
them, leavest only what may indeed be termed a dead 
letter, lest God take away thy part out of the book of 

6. Suffer we the apostle to interpret his own words, 
by the whole tenor of his discourse. In the fifth verse 
of this chapter, he had said, "Ye know that he," Christ, 
" was manifested to take away our sins ; and in him is 
no sin." What is the inference he draws from this? 
" Whosoever abideth in him sinncth not : whosoever 
sinncth hath not seen him, neither known him." (1 Jolm 
iii. 6.) To his enforcement of this important doctrine, 
he premises a highly necessary caution : " Little chil 
dren, let no man deceive you :" (verse 7 :) for manj 
will endeavour so to do ; to persuade you that you may 
be unrighteous, that you may commit sin, and yet be 
children of God : " He that doeth righteousness is 
righteous, even as He is righteous. He that com mi t- 
teth sin is of tho devil ; for the devil sinneth from thi 


beginning." Then follows, " Whosoever is born of God 
doth not commit sin ; for his seed remaineth in him : 
and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." In 
this, adds the apostle, " the children of God arc mani- 
fest, and the children of the devil." By this plain 
mark (the committing or not committing sin) are they 
distinguished from each other. To the same effect are 
those words in his fifth chapter : " We know that whoso- 
ever in born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten 
of God kecpeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth 
him not." (Verse 18.) 

7. Another fruit of this living faith is peace. Foi, 
" being justified by faith," having all our sins blotted 
nut, " we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus 
Christ." (Rom. v. 1.) This indeed our Lord himself, 
the night before his death, solemnly bequeathed to all 
his followers : " Peace," saith he, " I leave with you ;" 
(you who "believe in God," and "believe also in mej") 
" my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, 
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither 
let it be afraid." (John xiv. 27.) And again : "These 
things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might 
have peace." (John xvi. 33.) This is that " peace of 
God which passeth all understanding," that serenity of 
soul which it hath not entered into the heart of a natural 
man to conceive, and which it is not possible for even 
the spiritual man to utter. And it is a peace which all 
the powers of earth and hell are unable to take from 
him Waves and storms beat upon it, but they shake 
it not ; for it is founded upon a rock. It keepeth the 
hearts and minds of the children of God, at all times 
and in all places. Whether they are in ease or in pain, 
in sickness or health, in abundance or want, they are 
happy in God. In every state they have learned to be 
content, yea, to give thanks unto God through Christ 
Jesus ; being well assured, that " whatsoever is, is best," 
because it is His will concerning them ; so that in aE 
the vicissitudes of life, their " heart standeth fast, believ 
ing in the Lord." 


II. 1. A second scriptural mark of tho<»e who are 
born of God, is hope. Thus St. Peter, speaking to all 
the children of God who were then scattered abroad, 
saith, " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant niercy, 
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope." (1 Peter i. JJ.) 
K».*iia £uoav, a lively or living hope, saith the apostle; 
because there is also a dead hope, as well as a dead 
faith ; a hope which is not from God, but from the 
enemy of God and man; — as evidently appears by its 
fruits ; for, as it is the offspring of pride, so it is the 
parent of every evil word and work; whereas, every 
man that hath in him this living hope, is " holy as He 
that calleth him is holy :" every man that can truly say 
to his brethren in Christ, "Beloved, now are we the 
30ns of God, and we shall see him as he is," " puriiieth 
himself, even as He is pure." 

2. This hope implies, first, the testimony of our own 
spirit, or conscience, that we walk " in simplicity and 
godly sincerity ;" secondly, the testimony of the Spirit 
of God, " bearing witness with," or to, " our spirit, that 
we are the children of God," " and if children, then 
heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." 

3. Let us well observe what is here taught us bj 
God himself, touching this glorious privilege of hi? 
children. Who is it that is here said to bear witness? 
Not our spirit only, but another; even the Spirit of 
God: He it is who "beareth witness with our spirit." 
What is it he beareth witness of? "That we are the 
children of God ;" " and if children, then heirs ; heirs 
of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;" (Rom. viii. 1G. 
17 ;) " if so be that we suffer with him," if we deny 
ourselves, if we take up our cross daily, if we cheerfully 
endure persecution or reproach for his sake, " that we 
may also be glorified together." And in whom doth 
the Spirit of God bear this witness ? In all who art 
the children of God. By this very argument does the 
apostle prove, in the preceding verses, that they are bo 
" Ap many," saith he, " as are led by the Spirit of God, 


they are the sons of God." " For ye have not received 
the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but ye have received 
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father !' 
It follows, " The Spirit itself beareth witness with oar 
spirit, that we are the children of God." (Rom. viii 

4. The variation of the phrase in the fifteenth verse 
w worthy our observation : " Ye have received the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father !" 
Ye, as many as are the sons of God, have, in virtue of 
your sonship, received that selfsame Spirit of adoption, 
whereby we cry, Abba, Father. We, the apostles, 
prophets, teachers, (for so the word may not improperly 
be understood,) we, through whom you have believed, 
" ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of 
God." As we and you have one Lord, so we have one 
Spirit : as we have one faith, so we have one hope also. 
We and you are sealed with one " Spirit of promise," 
the earnest of your and of our inheritance ; the same 
Spirit bearing witness with your and with our spirit. 
" that we are the children of God." 

5. And thus is the scripture fulfilled, " Blessed are 
they that mourn ; for they shall be comforted." For it 
is easy to believe, that though sorrow may precede this 
witness of God's Spirit with our spirit ; (indeed must, in 
some degree, while we groan under fear, and a sense of 
the wrath of God abiding on us;) yet, as soon as any 
man fceleth it in himself, his " sorrow is turned into 
joy." Whatsoever his pain may have been before ; ye. 
as soon as that "hour is come, he remembereth the 
anguish no more for joy" that he is born of God. It 
may be, many of you have now sorrow, because you 
are " aliens from the commonwealth of Israel ;" be- 
cause you are consc'oij" tn vnnrgelves that you have not 
this spirit; that you are "without nope and without 
God in the world." But when the Comforter is come, 
"then your heart shall rejoice;" yea, " your joy shall 
be full," and "that joy no man taketh from you." 
(John xvi. 22.) " We joy in God," will ye say, " througk 


.hit Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received 
the atonement;" "by whom we have access into thii 
grace," this state of grace, of favour, or reconciliation 
with God, " wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of 
the glory of God." (Rom. v. 2.) " Ye," saith St. 
Peter, whom God hath " begotten again unto a lively 
hope, are kept by the power of God unto salvation: 
wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if 
need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold tempta 
tions ; that the trial of your faith may be found unto 
praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus 
Christ ; in whom, though now ye see him not, ye rejoice 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter i. 5, 
&c.) Unspeakable indeed ! It is not for the tongue of 
man to describe this joy in the Holy Ghost. It is " the 
hidden manna, which no man knoweth, save he that re- 
ceiveth it." But this we know, it not only remains, but 
overflows, in the depth of affliction. " Are the consola- 
tions of God" small with his children, when all earthly 
comforts fail ? Not so. But when sufferings most 
abound, the consolations of his Spirit do much more 
abound ; insomuch that the sons of God " laugh at de 
struction when it cometh ;" at want, pain, hell, and the 
grave ; as knowing Him who " hath the keys of death 
and hell," and will shortly " cast them into the bottom- 
less pit;" as hearing even now the great voice out of 
heaven saying, " Behold the tabernacle of God is with 
men, aud he will dwell with them, and they shall be his 
people, and God himself shall be with them, and be 
their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sor- 
row, nor crying ; neither shall there be any more pain ; 
for the former things are passed away." (Rev. xxi. 3, 4.) 
Ill 1. A third scriptural mark of those who are 
born of God, and the greatest of all, is love; even "the 
.ove of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy 
^host which is given unto them." (Rom. v. 5.) "Be- 
,auso they are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of 
biiSon into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father I" (G»l i» 



6.) By this Spirit, continually looking up to God as 
their reconciled and loving Father, they cry to Him for 
their daily bread, for all things needful, whether for their 
souls or bodies. They continually pour out their hearts 
before him, knowing "they have the petitions which 
they ask of him." (1 John v. 15.) Their delight is in 
him. He is the joy of their heart; their " shield," and 
their "exceeding great reward." The desire of their 
soul is toward him ; it is their " meat and drink to do 
his will '," and they are " satisfied as with marrow and 
fatness, while their mouth praiseth hin with joyful lips." 
(Ps. lxiii. 5.) 

2. And in this sense, also, " every one who loveth him 
that begat, loveth him that is begotten of him." (1 John 
v. 1.) His spirit rejoiceth in God his Saviour. He 
"loveth the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." He is so 
"joined unto the Lord," as to be one spirit. His soul 
hangeth upon Him, and chooseth Him as altogether 
lovely, "the chiefest among ten thousand." He know- 
eth, he feeleth what that means, " My beloved is mine, 
and I am his." (Cant. ii. 16.) " Thou art fairer than 
the children of men ; full of grace are thy lips, because 
God hath anointed thee for ever !" (Ps. xlv. 2.) 

3. The necessary fruit of this love of God is the love 
of our neighbour ; of every soul which God hath made ; 
not excepting our enemies; not excepting those who 
are now " despitefully using and persecuting us;" — a 
love, whereby we love every man as ourselves ; as we 
love our own souls. Nay, our Lord has expressed it 
still more strongly, teaching us to " love one another 
even as He hath loved us."* Accordingly, the com- 
mandment written in the hearts of all those that love 
God is no other than this, " As I have loved you, sc 
love ye one another." Now, "herein perceive we the 
lov3 of God, in that he laid down his life for us." (1 John 
ui. 16.) "We ought," then, as the spostle justly in- 
fers, "to lay down our lives for the brethren." If we 
feel ourselves ready to do this, then do we truly love 
tot neighbour. Then " we know that we have passed 



froni death unto life, because we" thus " love the bre- 
thren." (1 John iii. 14.) " Hereby know we" that we 
are born of God, that we " dwell in him, and he in us, 
because he hath given us of his" loving " Spirit " (iv. 
13 ) For "love is of God; and every one that" thug 
" loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (iv. 7.) 

4. But some may possibly ask, "Does not the apos- 
tle say, ' This is the love of God, that we keep his com- 
mandments V" (1 John v. 3.) Yea, and this is the 
love of our neighbour also, in the same sense as it is 
the love of God. But what would you infer from 
hence ? that the keeping the outward commandments is 
all that is implied in loving God with all your heart, 
with all your mind, and soul and strength, and in 
loving your neighbour as yourself? that the love of 
God is not an affection of the soul, but merely an out- 
ward service? and that the love of our neighbour is 
not a disposition of heart, but barely a course of outward 
works? To mention so wild an interpretation of the 
apostle's words, is sufficiently to confute it. The plain 
indisputable meaning of the text is, — This is the sign or 
proof of the love of God, of our keeping the first and 
great commandment, to keep all the rest of his com- 
mandments. For true love, if it be once shed abroad iu 
our heart, will constrain us so to do ; since, whosoever 
loves God with all his heart, cannot but serve him with 
all his strength. 

0. A second fruit then of the love of God (so far aa 
it can be distinguished from it) is universal obedience to 
him we love, and conformity to his will ; obedience to 
all the commands of God, internal and external; obe- 
dience of the heart and of the life : in every temper, 
and in all manner of conversation. And one of the 
tempers most obviously implied herein is, the being 
" zealous of good works ;" the hungering and thirsting 
to do good, in every possible kind, unto all men ; the 
rejoicing to " spend and be spent for them," for every 
child of man ; not looking for any recompense in thi* 
world, but only in the resurrection of the jurt. 

sra xvm.] marks or the new birth 377 

IV- 1 Thus have I plainly laid down those marks 
of the new birth which I find laid down in Scripture. 
Thus doth God himself answer that weighty question 
What is it to be born of God ? Such, if the appeal b« 
made to the oracles of God, is " every one that is bora 
of the Spirit." This it is, in the judgment of the Spirit 
of God, to be a son or a child of God : it is so to believt 
in God, through Christ, as " not to commit sin," and to 
enjoy at all times, and in all places, that "peace oi 
God which passeth all understanding." It is, so to 
hope in God through the Son of his love, as to have not 
only the " testimony of a good conscience," but also the 
Spirit of God " bearing witness with your spirits, that 
ye are the children of God ;" whence cannot but spring 
the rejoicing in Him through whom ye " have received 
the atonement." It is so to love God, who hath thus 
bved you, as you never did love any creature ; so that 
ye are constrained to love all men as yourselves ; with 
a love not only ever burning in your hearts, but flaming 
out in all your actions and conversations, and making 
your whole life one " labour of love," one continued obe- 
dience to those commands, " Be ye merciful, as God is 
merciful :" " Be ye holy, as I the Lord am holy :" " Be 
ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." 
2. Who then are ye that are thus born of God ? Ye 
"know the things which are given to you of God " Ye 
well know that ye are the children of God, and " cai. 
assure your hearts before him." And every one of you 
who has observed these words cannot but feel, and 
know of a truth, whether at this hour, (answer to God, 
and not to man !) you are thus a child of God or no. 
The question is not, what you was made in baptism ; 
(do not evade ;) but, What are you now ? Is the Spirit 
of adoption now in your heart ? To your own heart let 
the appeal be made. I ask not, whether you was born 
of water and of the Spirit ; but are you now the temple 
of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you ? I allow yon 
was " circumcised with the circumcision of Christ :" 
fas St. Paul emphatically terms baptism ;) but does th« 

i.— y v 


Spirit of Christ and of glory now rest upon you ? Else, 
" your circumcision is become uncircumcision." 

3. Say not then in your heart, " I was once baptized, 
therefore I am now a child of God." Alas, that conse- 
quence will by no means hold. How many are the 
baptized gluttons and drunkards, the baptized liars and 
common swearers, the baptized railers and evil speakers, 
the baptized whoremongers, thieves, extortioners ? What 
think you? Are these now the children of God? 
Verily. I say unto you, whosoever you are, unto whom 
any oLe of the preceding characters belongs, " Ye are of 
your father the devil, and the works of your father ye 
do." Unto you I call, in the name of Him whom you 
crucify afresh, and in his words to your circumcised pre- 
decessors, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how 
can ye escape the damnation of hell ?" 

4. How, indeed, except ye be born again ? For ye 
••re now dead in trespasses and sins. To say, then, thai 
ye cannot be born again, that there is no new birth but 
in baptism, is to seal you all under damnation, is to con- 
sign you to hell, without help, without hope. And per- 
haps some may think this just and right. In their zeal 
for the Lord of hosts, they may say, " Yea, cut off the 
sinners, the Amalekites ! Let these Gibeonites be ut- 
terly destroyed ! They deserve no less." No ; nor 
I, nor you. Mine and your desert, as well as theirs, is 
hell ; and it is mere mercy, free, undeserved mercy, that 
we are not now in unquenchable fire. You will say, 
'' But we are washed ;" we were born again " of water 
ind of the Spirit." So were they : this, therefore, hin- 
lers not at all, but that ye may now be even as they. 
Know ye not, that " what is highly esteemed of men is 
in abomination in the sight of God ?" Come forth, ye 
' saints of the world," ye that are honoured of men, and 
jec who will cast the first stone at them, at these 
wretches not fit to live upon the earth, these common 
harlots, adulterers, murderers. Only learn ye first what 
(hat meaneth, " He that hateth his brother is a mur- 
lerer." (1 John Hi. 15.) " He that looketh on a woman 



to lust after her hath committed adultery with her alrcadj 
in his heart." (Matt. v. 28.) " Ye adulterers and adul- 
teresses, know ye not that the friendship of the worlo 
is enmity with God V (James iv. 4.) 

5. " Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye" also " must 
be horn again." "Except ye" also "be born again, 
ye cannot see the kingdom of God." Lean no more on 
the staff of that broken reed, that ye were born again in 
baptism. Who denies that ye were then made children 
of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven? But, 
notwithstanding this, ye are now children of the devil. 
Therefore ye must be born again. And let not Satan 
put it into your heart to cavil at a word, when the thing 
is clear. Ye have heard what are the marks of the 
children of God : all ye who have them not on your 
souls, baptized or unbaptized, must needs receive them, 
or without doubt ye will perish everlastingly. And if 
ye have been baptized, your only hope is this, — that 
those who were made the children of God by baptism, 
but are now the children of the devil, may yet again re- 
ceive " power to become the sons of God ;" that they 
may receive again what they have lost, even the " Spirit 
of adoption, crying in their hearts, Abba, Father !" 

Amen, Lord Jesus ! May every one who prepareth 
his heart yet again to seek thy face, receive again that 
Spirit of adoption, and cry out, " Abba, Father !" Let 
him now again have power so to believe in thy name as 
to become a child of God ; as to know and feel he hath 
" redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins ;" 
and that he " cannot commit sin, because he is born of 
God." Let him be now "begotten again unto a living 
hope," so as to " purify himself as thou art pure ;" and 
" because he is a son," let the Spirit of love and of 
glory rest upon him, cleansing him " from all filthiness 
of flesh and spirit," and teaching him to " perfect, holi- 
ness in the fear of God 1" 



Singe the Son hath made me free 
Let me taste my liberty ; 
Thee behold with open face, 
Triumph in thy saving grace ; 
Thy great will delight to prove, 
Glory in thy perfect love. 

Abba, Father ! hear thy child, 
Late in Jesus reconciled ; 
Hear, and all the graces shower, 
All the joy, and peace, and powet 
All my Saviour asks above, 
All the life and heaven of love 

Lord, 1 will not let thee go, 
Till the blessing thou bestow : 
Hear my Advocate Divine ! 
Lo ! to his my suit I join ; 
Join'd to his, it cannot fail ; 
Bless me ; for I will prevail ! 

Holy Ghost, no more delay ! 
Come, and in thy temple stay I 
Now thine inward witness bear, 
Strong, and permanent, and olesi 
Spring of Life, thyself impart : 
Rise eternal in my heart ! 


Ques. 1. (fl 1.) What does he say were privileges annexed 
ordinarily to baptism? In this statement is he not reflecting 
the views of the Church of England? 

Ques. 2. (ff 1.) If they were only ordinarily annexed to 
baptism, does it follow that every one who was baptized was 
"born again" in a spiritual sense? 

Ques. 3. (1 2.) Does he say that the Scripture gives no 
definition to the new birth? 

Ques. 4. (I. 1.) What is the first mark laid down? 

Ques. 5. (I. 2.) Is this barely a notional or speculative 

Ques. 6. (I. 3.) What is true, living, Christian faith? 

Ques. 7. (I. 4.) What is its immediate fruit? 

Ques. 8. (I. 5.) What is asserted by St. John? What is 
said of habitual sin? 

Ques. 9. (I. 6.) What is the interpretation of the apostle's 

Ques. 10. (I. 7.) What is another fruit of faith? 

Ques. 11. (II. 1.) What is the second scriptural mark? 

Ques. 12. (II. 2.) What does the full assurance of hope 

Ques. 13. (II. 3.) What is, here taught by God him- 

Ques. 14. (II. 4.) What is worthy of observation here? 

Ques. 15. (II. 5.) How is the scripture fulfilled? What 
scripture is it? 

Ques. 16. (III. 1.) What is the third scriptural mark? 

Ques. 17. (III. 2.) What is said of loving our brethren? 



Ques. 18. (III. 3.) What is the necessary fruit of love to 

Ques. 19. (III. 4.) What may be asked by an objector? 

Ques. 20. (III. 5.) What is the second fruit? 

Ques. 21. (IV. 1.) What have been plainly laid down? 

Ques. 22. (IV. 2.) Who are they thus born of God? 

Ques. 23. (IV 3.) Does it follow that those who were once 
baptized are now children of God? How does he prove that 
they are not? 

Ques. 24. (IV- 4.) What follows the assertion that there is 
no new birth but baptism? 

Ques. 25. (IV. 5.) What exhortation does he give here? 

Ques. 2G. (IV. 5.) How does he contrast the supposed ben- 
efit of baptism with their present condition? 

Ques. 27. What appears to be the logical conclusion from 
the entire discourse? Ans. The Church of England laught 
that baptism was a change of state from the kingdom of 
Satan to the kingdom of Christ. Baptism was the sign of 
spiritual cleansing, the seal of the promise given to impart 
the blessing, and the pledge of its bestowal upon the person 
baptized. But the ordinance availed nothing if the adult 
remained a sinner and still needed a new birth. 


"This sermon," days Prof. Burwash, "sets before us very 
clearly Mr. Wesley's view of the relation of Christian expe- 
rience or consciousness to the new moral life. He lays this 
down as a fundamental principle that the conscious sense of 
God's presence cannot co-exist with conscious consent to sin. 
And as Mr. Wesley knows of no occult religion, or im- 
puted favor of God, which is not revealed, a holy will be- 
comes thus an inseparable result of true religion, and an 
indispensable condition of its continuance. 

"This requirement of rectitude of will stands out in the 
very forefront of Methodist theology. It is linked with the 
Arminian doctrines of responsibility and freedom on the 
one hand, and on the other it forms the first step in the 
Wesleyan doctrine of scriptural holiness, the crown of which 
is Christian perfection. A theology which embraces such 
fundamental elements as these can have no fellowship with 
Antinomianism. If a consciously-holy purpose of will en- 
ters into all true Christian life, then there must be a law 
of God by which this holy will is directed. Thus all moral 
law enters not as ornamental addition, but as an essential 
element into the true Christia'n experience. Hence in Mr. 
Wesley's plan we shall find next in order an exposition of 
Christian moral law, the sermon of our Lord on the mount 
being the basis. 

Methodism is thus peculiarly ethical Christianity. Mr. 
Wesley seems to combine in his own religious life and teach- 
ings all the ethical elements with which he came in contact. 



Holiness is the central conception of God and of religion, 
and the only perfection of man. 

" In this view of religion the will becomes a most impor- 
tant factor. It is the will which establishes a fundamental 
difference between all involuntary moral imperfection and 
sinfulness and the sin, pre-eminently so called, which brings 
guilt and separation from God." 

Justification and regeneration, one in point of time, are 
distinct in nature — one a relative change, the other real; 
one wrought for us, the other in us; one removing the guilt, 
the other the power of sin. 

I. The meaning of the expression, " Whosoever is born 
of God." 

Not baptism or any outward change, but inward, begin- 
ning a different life. Analogy of the natural birth. The 
new perception of the spiritual life. 

II. In what sense he doth not commit sin. 

Sin defined as actual, voluntary transgression of the law. 
This the man who abides in faith, love, and prayer cannot 
do. But some such have sinned : David, Barnabas, Peter. 
Ans. There is a condition, " He keepeth himself." Sin is first 
negative; failure to watch; then positive inward sin; then 
positive outward transgression. The last is always preceded 
by loss of faith. Eight steps of the fall described. 

III. We learn four lessons. 




" Whosoever it born of Ood doth not commit tin." — 1 Jon ili. 9 

1. It has been frequently supposed, that the being 
born of God was all one with the being justified ; thai 
the new birth and justification were only different ex- 
pressions, denoting the same thing: it being certain, on 
the one hand, that whoever is justified is also born of 
God ; and on the other, that whoever is born of God is 
also justified ; yea, that both these gifts of God are 
given to every believer in one and the same moment, 
fa one point of time his sins are blotted out, and he is 
born again of God. 

2. But though it be allowed, that justification and the 
new birth are, in point of time, inseparable from each 
other, yet are they easily distinguished, as being not the 
same, but things of a widely different nature. Justifi- 
cation implies only a relative, the new birth a real, 
change. God in justifying us does something for us ; 
in begetting us again, he does the work in us. The 
former changes our outward relation to God, so that of 
enemies we become childre # n ; by the latter, our inmost 
jouls are changed, so that of sinners we become saints. 
Tie one restores us to the favour, the other to the 
"'mage, of God. The one is the taking away the guilt, 
*ie other the taking away the power, of sin : so that, 
although they are joined together in point of time, ye I 

P") they of wholly distinct natures. 

8. The not discerning this, the not observing the 
wide difference there is between being justified and being 
25 X '2 vol. I. * 


born again, has occasioned exceeding great confusion of 
thought in many who have treated on this subject; par 
ticularly when they have attempted to explain this great 
privilege of the children of God; to show l "-v "whoso- 
ever is born of God doth not commit sin." 

4 In order to apprehend this clearly, it may be ne- 
cessary, first, to consider what is the proper meaning of 
that expression, "Whosoever is born of God;" and, 
secondly, to inquire, in what sense he " doth not com- 
mit sin." 

1. 1. First, we are to consider, what is the proper 
meaning of that expression, "Whosoever is born of 
God." And, in general, from all the passages of holy 
writ wherein this expression, " the being born of God, ' 
occurs, we may learn that it implies not barely the being 
baptized, or auy outward change whatever; but a vast 
inward change, a change wrought in the soul, by the 
operation of the Holy Ghost ; a change in the whole 
manner of our existence ; for, from the moment we are 
born of God, we live in quite another manner than wr 
did before ; we are, as it were, in another world. 

2. The ground and reason of the expression is easy 
to be understood. When we undergo this great change, 
we may, with much propriety, be said to be born again, 
because there is so near a resemblance between the cir- 
cumstances of the natural and of the spiritual birth; so 
that to consider the circumstances of the natural birth 
is the most easy way to understand the spiritual. 

3. The child which is not yet born subsists indeed by 
the air, as docs every thing which has life ; but feels it 
not, nor any thing else, unless in a very dull and imper- 
fect manner. It hears little, if at all; the organs of 
hearing being as yet closed up. It sees nothing; hiv- 
ing its eyes fast shut, and being surrounded with utter 
darkness. There are, it may be, some faint beginnings 
of life, when the time of its birth draws nigh, and box: 
motion consequent thereon, whereby it is distinguish A 
from a mere mass of matter: but it has no sense*, all 


these avenues of the soul are hitherto quite shut up 
Of consequence, it has scarce any intercourse with this 
visible world ; nor an j knowledge, conception, or idea 
of the things that occur therein. 

4. The reason why ho that is not yet born is whollj 
a stranger to the visible world, is not because it is afai 
off; (it is very nigh ; it surrounds him on every Bide ;) 
but, partly, because he has not those senses, they are 
not yet opened in his soul, whereby alone it is possible 
to hold commerce with the material world ; and partly, 
because so thick a veil is cast between, through which 
he can discern nothing. 

5. But no sooner is the child born into the world, 
than he exists in a quite different manner. He now 
feels the air with which he is surrounded, and which 
pours into him from every side, as fast as he alternately 
breathes it back, to sustain the flame of life : and hence 
springs a continual increase of strength, of motion, and 
of sensation ; all the bodily senses being now awakened, 
and furnished with their proper objects. 

His eyes are now opened to perceive the light, which, 
silently flowing in upon them, discovers not only itself, 
but an infinite variety of things, with which before ho 
was wholly unacquainted. His ears are unclosed, and 
sounds rush in with endless diversity. Every sense is 
employed upon such objects as are peculiarly suitable to 
it ; and by these inlets the soul, having an open inter- 
course with the visible world, acquires more and more 
knowledge of sensible things, of all the things which are 
under the sun. 

6. So it is with him that is born of God. Before 
that great change is wrought, although he subsist* by 
Him, in whom all that have life " live, and move, and 
have their being," yet he is not sensible of God; he 
does not feel, he has no inward consciousness of His 

Eresence. He does not perceive that divine breath of 
fe, without which he cannot subsist a moment : nor if 
ho sensible of any of the things of God ; they make bo 

388 pbivileojs of those [_ser. XIi 

impression upon his soul. God is continually calling to 
him from on high, but he heareth not; his cars are 
shut, so that the " voice of the charmer" is lost to him, 
" charm he never so wisely." He seeth not the things 
of the Spirit of God ; the eyes of his understanding 
being closed, and utter darkness covering his whole 
iouI, surrounding him on every side. It is true he may 
have some faint dawnings of life, some small beginnings 
of spiritual motion ; but as yet he has no spiritual senses 
capable of discerning spiritual objects ; consequently, 
he " discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God ; he 
cannot know them, because they are spiritually dis- 

7. Hence he has scarce any knowledge of the invisible 
world, as he has scarce any intercourse with it. Not 
that it is afar off: no : he is in the midst of it ; it encom- 
passes him round about. The other world, as we usually 
term it, is not far from every one of us ; it is above, and 
beneatb, and on every side. Only the natural man dis- 
cerneth it not; partly, because he has no spiritual 
senses, whereby alone we can discern the things of 
God; partly, because so thick a veil is interposed as he 
knows not how to penetrate. 

t. But when he is born of God, born of the Spirit, 

how is the manner of his existence changed ! His whole 

soul is now sensible of God, and he can say, by sure 

experience, " Thou art about my bed and afcout my 

path ;" I feel thee in all my ways : " Thou besettesi 

me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.' 

The spirit or breath of God is immediately inspired, 

breathed into the new-born soul ; and the same breath 

■vhich comes from, returns to God : as it is continually 

received by faith, so it is continually rendered back by 

love, by prayer, and praise, and thanksgiving ; love 

aDd praise, and prayer being the breath of every sool 

which is truly born of God. And by this new kind*of 

spiritual respiration, spiritual life is nut only sustained, 

out increased day by day, together with spiritual 

nrongtb, and motion, and sensation ; all the souses of 


the soul being now awake, and capable of discerning 
gpiritual good and evil. 

9. " The eyes of his understanding" are now " open,' 
and he " seeth him that is invisible." He sees what 
is " the exceeding greatness of his power" and of his 
love towards them that believe. He sees that God ii 
merciful to him a sinner ; that he is reconciled through 
the Son of his love. He clearly perceives both the par- 
doning love of God, and all his " exceeding great and 
precious riomises." " God, who commanded the light 
to shine out of darkness, hath shined," and doth shine, 
" in his heart," to enlighten him with " the knowledge 
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." All 
the darkness is now passed away, and he abides in the 
light of God's countenance. 

10. His ears are now opened, and the voice of God no 
longer calls in vain. He hears and obeys the heavenly 
calling; he knows the voice of his Shepherd. All his 
spiritual senses being now awakened, he has a clear in- 
tercourse with the invisible world ; and hence he knows 
more and more of the things which before it could not 
" enter into his heart to conceive." He now knows 
what the peace of God is ; what is joy in the Holy 
Ghost; what the love of God which is shed abroad in 
the hearts of them that believe in him through Christ 
Jesus. Thus the veil being removed which before in- 
tercepted the light and voice, the knowledge and love 
of God, he who is born of the Spirit, dwelling in love, 
"dwelleth in God, and God in him." 

11. 1. Having considered the meaning of that ex 
pression, " Whosoever is born of God," it remains, in 
the second place, to inquire, in what sense he " doth noi 
commit sin." 

Now one who is so born of God, as hath been above 
described, who continually receives into his soul the 
breath of life from God, the gracious influence of his 
Sgirit, and continually renders it back ; one who thus 
believes and loves, who by faith perceives the continua' 
u* tings of God upon his spirit, and by a kind of spirit 


nal reaction returns the grace he receives, in unceasing 
love, and praise, and prayer ; not only doth not commit 
lin, while lu> thus keepeth himself, but so long as this 
" seed remaineth in him, he cannot sin, because he is 
horn of God." 

2. By sin, I here understand outward sin, according 
to the plain, common acceptation of the word ; an actual, 
voluntary transgression of the law; of the revealed, 
written law of God; of any commandment of God, 
acknowledged to be such at the time that it is trans- 
gressed. But " whosoever is born of God," while he 
abideth in faith and love, and in the spirit of prayer and 
thanksgiving, not only doth not, but cannot thus com- 
mit sin. So long as he thus believeth in God through 
Christ, and loves him, and is pouring out his heart before 
him, he cannot voluntarily transgress any command of 
God, either by speaking or acting what he knows God 
hath forbidden : so long that seed which remaineth in 
him, that loving, praying, thankful faith, compels him 
to refrain from whatsoever he knoweth to be an abomi- 
nation in the sight of God. 

3. But here a difficulty will immediately occur ; and 
one that to many has appeared insuperable, and induced 
them to deny the plain assertion of the apostle, and 
give up the privilege of the children of God. 

It is plain in fact, that those whom we cannot deny 
to have been truly born of God, (the Spirit of God hav- 
ing given us in his word this infallible testimony con- 
cerning them,) nevertheless, not only could, but did 
commit sin, even gross, outward sin. They did trans- 
gress the plain, known laws of God, speaking or acting 
what they knew he had forbidden. 

4. Thus David was unquestionably born of God oi 
ever he was anointed King over Israel. He knew in 
whom he had believed ; " he was strong in faith, giving 

Elory to God." " The Lord," saith he, " is my Shep- 
erd ; therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me 
in green pastures, and lead me forth beside the waters ot 
lomfort. Yea, though I walk through the valley of th» 


shadow of death, I will fear no evil ; for thou art with 
me." (Psalm xxiii. 1, &c.) He was filled with love; 
such as often constrained him to cry out, " I will love 
thee, Lord, my strength : the Lord is my stony rock, 
and my defence ; the horn also of my salvation, and mj 
refuge." (Psalm xviii. 1,2.) He was a man of prayer; 
pouring out his soul before God in all circumstances of 
life ; and abundant in praises and thanksgivings. " Thy 
praise," saith he, "shall be ever in my mouth :" (Psalm 
xxxi v. 1 :) " Thou art my G-od, and I will thank thee ; 
thou art my God, and I will praise thee." (Psalm 
cxviii. 28.) And yet such a child of God could and did 
commit sin ; yea, the horrid sins of adultery and murder. 
5. And even after the Holy Ghost was more largely 
given, after " life and immortality were brought to light 
by the gospel," we want not instances of the same me- 
lancholy kind, which were also doubtless written foT 
our instruction. Thus he who (probably from his sell- 
ing all that he had, and bringing the price for the relief 
of his poor brethren) was by the apostles themselves 
surnamed Barnabas, that is, the son of consolation ; 
(Acts iv. 36, 37 ;) who was so honoured at Antioch, as 
to be selected with Saul out of all the disciples, to carry 
their relief unto the brethren in Judea ; (Acts xi. 29, 
30;) this Barnabas, who, at his return from Judea, was, 
by the peculiar direction of the Holy Ghost, solemnly 
" separated from the other prophets and teachers, for 
the work whereunto God had called him," (xiii. 1—4,) 
even to accompany the great apostle among the Gentiles, 
and to be his fellow-labourer in every place ; — neverthe- 
less, was afterwards so sh'arp, (xv. 35, 39,) in his con- 
tention with St. Paul, (because he " thought it not good 
*o take with them John," in his visiting the brethren a 
second time, " who had departed from them from Pam- 

Ehylia, and went not with them to the work,") that he 
imsclf also departed from the work ; that he " took 
John, and sailed unto Cyprus ;" (xv. 39 ;) forsaking 
him to whom he had been in so immediate a manner 
ioined by the Holy Ghost. 


fi. A* "ustance more astonishing than both these is 
given by Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. When 
Peter, the aged, the zealous, the first of the apostles, 
one of the three most highly favoured by his Lord, 
"was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, be- 
cause he was to be blamed. For before that certain 
came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles," — the 
heathens converted to the Christian faith, — as having 
been peculiarly taught of God, that he " should not call 
any man common or unclean." (Acts x. 28.) " But 
when they were come, he separated himself, fearing 
them which were of the circumcision. And the other 
Jews dissembled likewise with him ; insomuch that Bar- 
nabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly accord- 
ing to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before 
them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner 
of the Gentiles," — not regarding the ceremonial law of 
Moses, — "why conipellest thou the Gentiles to live as 
do the Jews?" (Gal. ii. 11, &c.) Here is also plain, 
undeniable sin committed by one who was undoubtedly 
born of God. But how can this be reconciled with the 
assertion of St. John, if taken in the obvious literal 
meaning, that " whosoever is born of God. doth not 
commit sin ?" 

7 I answer, What has been long observed is this : so 
long as " he that is born of God keepcth himself," 
(which he is able to do by the grace of God,) "the 
wicked one toucheth him not;" but if he keepeth not 
himself, if he abideth not in the faith, he may commit 
sin even as another man. 

It is easy therefore to understand, how any of these 
children of God might be moved from his own steadfast- 
ness, and yet the great truth of God, declared by the 
apostle, remain steadfast and unshaken. He did not 
" keep himself," by that grace of God which was suffi- 
cient fur him. He fell, step by step, first, into negative, 
inward sin, not " stirring up the gift of God which was 
n him," not " watching unto prayer," not "pressing on 



to the mark of the prize of his high calling :" then, into 
positive inward sin, inclining to wickedness with his 
heart, giving way to some evil desire or tempei : next, 
he lost his faith, his sight of a pardoning God, and con- 
sequently his love of God ; and, being then weak and 
like another man, he was capable of committing even 
outward sin. 

8 To explain this by a particular instance : David 
was born of God, and saw God by faith. He loved God 
in sincerity. He could truly say " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth," neither 
person nor thing, " that I desire in comparison of thee." 
But still there remained in his heart that corruption of 
nature, which is the seed of all evil. 

"He was walking upon the roof of his house," (2 
Sam. xi. 2,) probably praising the God whom his soul 
loved, when he looked down, and saw Bathsheba. He 
felt a temptation ; a thought which tended to evil. The 
Spirit of God did not fail to convince him of this. He 
doubtless heard and knew the warning voice ; but he 
yielded in some measure to the thought, and the tempt- 
ation began to prevail over him. Hereby his spirit 
was sullied : he saw God still ; but it was more dimly 
than before. He loved God still ; but not in the same 
degree ; not with the same strength and ardour of affec- 
tion. Yet God checked him again, though his Spirit 
was grieved ; and his voice, though fainter and fainter, 
still whispered, "Sin lieth at the door; look unto me, 
aud be thou saved." But he would not hear: he 
looked again, not unto God, but unto the forbidden ob- 
ject, till nature was superior to grace, and kindle*.! 
lust in his soul. 

The eye of his mind was now closed again, and God 
vanished out of his sight. Faith, the divine, super 
natural intercourse with God, and the love of God, 
oeased together; he then rushed on as a horse into 
the battle, and knowingly committed the outward sin. 

9. You see the unquestionable progress from grace w: 
tin : thus it goes on, from step to step. ( 1.) The divio* 
i« I—* 


Reed of loviug, conquering faith, remains in him that is 
born of God. " He keepeth himself," by the grace of 
God, and "cannot commit sin." ('2.) A temptation 
arises ; whether from the world, the flesh, or the devil, 
it matters not. (3.) The Spirit of God gives him warn- 
ing that sin is near, and bids him more abundantly 
watch unto prayer. (4.) He gives way, in some degree, 
to the temptation, which now begins to grow pleasing 
f<> hire. (5.) The Holy Spirit is grieved ; his faith is 
weakened ; and his love of God grows cold. (6. ) The 
Spirit reproves him more sharply, and saith, "This is 
the way ; walk thou in it." (7.) He turns away from 
the painful voice of God, and listens to the pleasing 
voice of the tempter. (8.) Evil desire begins and 
spreads in his soul, till faith and love vanish away : he 
is then capable of committing outward sin, the power 
of the Lord being departed from him. 

10. To explain this by another instance : The apostle 
Peter was full of faith and of the Holy Ghost; and 
hereby keeping himself, he had a conscience void of 
offence toward God and toward man. 

Walking thus in simplicity and godly sincerity, "be- 
fore that certain came from James, he did eat with the 
Gentiles," knowing that what God had cleansed was not 
coinmou or unclean. 

But " when they were come," a temptation arose in 
his heart, " to fear those of the circumcision," (the Jew- 
ish converts, who were zealous for circumcision and the 
other rites of the Mosaic law,) and regard the favour 
and praise of these men, more than the praise of God. 

He was warned by the Spirit that sin was near ; never- 
theless, he yielded to it in some degree, even to sinful 
fear of man, and his faith and love were proportionably 

God reproved him again for giving place to the devil. 
Yet he would not hearken to the voice of his Shepherd ; 
but gave himself up to that slavish fear, and thereby 
quenched the Spirit. 

Then God disappeared, and faith and love being ex 



tinct, he committed the outward sin : walking not ujt- 
rightly, not " according to the truth of the gospel," he 
" separated himself" from his Christian brethren, and 
by his evil example, if not advice also, " compelled even 
the Gentiles to live after the manner of the Jews;" to 
entangle themselves again with that " yoke of bondage," 
from which " Christ had set them free." 

Thus it is unquestionably true, that he who is born 
of God, keeping himself, doth not, cannot commit sin ; 
and yet, if he keepeth not himself, he may commit all 
manner of sin with greediness. 

III. 1. From the preceding considerations we may 
learn, first, to give a clear and incontestable answer to 
a question which has frequently perplexed many who 
were sincere of heart : " Does sin precede or follow the 
loss of faith ? Does a child of God first commit sin, and 
thereby lose his faith ? Or does he lose his faith first, 
before he can commit sin ?" 

I answer, Some sin of omission, at least, must neces- 
sarily precede the loss of faith ; some inward sin : but 
the loss of faith must precede the committing outward 

The more any believer examines his own heart, the 
more will he be convinced of this : that faith, working 
by love, excludes both inward and outward sin from a 
soul watching unto prayer; that nevertheless we are 
even then liable to temptation, particularly to the sin 
that did easily beset us ; that if the loving eye of the 
soul be steadily fixed on God, the temptation soon 
vanishes away : but if not,, if we are t§fXxopEv<», (as the 
apostle James speaks, chap. i. 14,) drawn out of God 
by our own desire, and &t%ta£ofitvot, caught by the bail 
of present or promised pleasures ; then that desire, con- 
neived in us, brings forth sin ; and having by thai in- 
ward sin destroyed our faith, it casts us headlong into 
the snare of the devil, so that we may commit any out- 
ward sin whatever. 

'2. From what has been said, we may learn, secondly, 

»hat the life of God in the soul of a believer is j whera 



in it properly consists ; and what is immediately and 
necessarily implied therein. It immediately and neces- 
sarily implies the continual inspiration of God's Holy 
Spirit; God's breathing into the soul, and the soul'* 
breathing back what it first receives from God; a con 
tinual action of God upon the soul, and a reaction of 
the soul upon God ; an unceasing presence of God, the 
loving, pardoning God, manifested to the heart, and per- 
ceived by faith; and an unceasing return of love, praise, 
and prayer, offering up all the thoughts of our hearts, 
all the words of our tongues, all the works of our hands, 
all our body, soul, and spirit, to be a holy sacrifice, 
acceptable unto God in Christ Jesus. 

3. And hence we may, thirdly, infer the absolute ne- 
cessity of this reaction of the soul, (whatsoever it be 
called,) in order to the continuance of the divine life 
therein. For it plainly appears, God does not continue 
to act upon the soul, unless the soul reacts upon God. 
Ke prevents us indeed with the blessings of his good- 
ness. He first loves us, and manifests himself unto us. 
While we are yet afar off, he calls us to himself, and 
shines upon our hearts. But if we do not then love 
him who first loved us ; if we will not hearken to his 
voice; if we turn our eye away from him, and will not 
vttend do the light which he pours in upon us; his 
Spirit will not always strive : he will gradually with- 
draw, and leave us to the darkness »f our own hearts. 
He will not continue to breathe into our soul, unless 
our soul breathes toward him again ; unless our love, 
and prayer, and thanksgiving return to him, a sacrifice 
wherewith he is well pleased. 

4. Let us learn, lastly, to follow .that direction of the 

great apostle, " Be not high-minded, but fear." Let 

us fear sin, more than death or hell. Let us have u 

jealous (though not painful) fear, lest we should lean to 

our own deceitful hearts. " Let him that standeth take 

heed lest he fall." Even he who now standeth fast in 

the grace of God, in the faith that overcometh the world, 

may nevertheless fall into inward sin, and thereby "mak* 


shipwreck of his faith." And how easily then will out 
ward sin regain its dominion over him ! Thou, there 
fore, man of God ! watch always, that thou maycst 
always hear the voice of God ! Watch, that thou 
mayest pray without ceasing, at all times, and in all 
places, pouring out thy heart before him ! So shah 
thou always believe, and always love, and never oonv 

r S 


Ques. 1. (1f 1.) Are the new birth and justification the 
same ? 

Ques. 2. (1[ 2.) Although inseparable, how are they dis- 

Ques. 3. (If 3.) What has been the result of not observing 
this wide difference? 

Ques. -A. (I. 1.) What does he first consider? 

Ques. 5. (I. 2.) What does the spiritual birth resemble? 

Ques. 6. (I. 3.) What is said of the unborn child? 

Ques. 7. (I. 4.) Why is the child a stranger to the visible 

Ques. 8. (I. 5.) What follows the natural birth? 

Ques. 9. (I. 6.) How is the analogy stated? 

Ques. 10. (1.7.) Why is not the "other world" discerned? 

Ques. 11. (I. 8.) What follows the new birth? 

Ques. 12. (I. 9.) What is said of his spiritual sight? 

Ques. 13. (1. 10.) And of his hearing? 

Ques. 14. (II. 1.) What is the second inquiry? 

Ques. 15. (II. 2.) What is here understood by sin? 

Ques. 16. (II. 3.) What difficulty immediately occurs? 

Ques. 17. (II. 4.) Was David born of God? And when? 
Did he afterward commit sin? 

Ques. 18. (II. 5.) What melancholy instances occurred in 
the days of the apostles? 

Ques. 19. (IT. 6.) What more astonishing instance is 

Ques. 20. (TT. 7.) How does he answer the question? 

Ques. 21. (II. 8.) How is this explained? 


Ques. 22. (II. 9.) What is the progress from grace to sinV 
Ques. 23. (II. 10.) How is this explained by a particular 
instance ? 
Ques. 24. (III. 1.) What do we learn from the preceding? 
Ques. 25. (III. 2.) What do we learn secondly ? 
Ques. 26. (III. 3.) What is the third inference? 
Ques. 27. (III. 4.) What do we learn lastly? 
Ques. 28. (III. 5.) What caution concludes the discourse? 


"This sermon," says Prof. Burwash, "was evidently 
preached and published to prevent misunderstanding be- 
tween those (Arminian and Calvinist) who preached salva- 
tion by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. It was inserted in 
its present position — after the sermons which treat of inher- 
ent righteousness, and before the exposition of the law of 
Christian duty — in the edition of 1771, partly to guard Mr. 
Wesley's doctrine on these subjects from misconception, and 
likewise to mark the perfect consistency of the scriptural 
doctrine of faith in the atonement with the scriptural doc- 
trine of Christian holiness. It allows, but does not encour- 
age, the use of the term 'imputed righteousness;' and it 
very clearly defines the only sense in which the term can be 
safely used. It does not propound a theory of atonement (a 
fixed theory is absolutely necessary to the theology of impu- 
tation), but it lays down important principles which must 
guide us if we would frame a theory in harmony with Meth- 
odist theology. 

" 1. It teaches us to look at the atonement in the light of 
conscious faith. 

" 2. It teaches us to separate from that faith those peculi- 
arities which are accidental, the prejudices of our theo- 

"3 It presents the atonement not as the means of pro- 
ducing faith (moral view), but as the absolute founoation on 
which faith rests. 

"4. It presents the atonement not as an expedient by 



which difficulties in the way of forgiveness may be removed, 
but as the real basis, or ground, of forgiveness. 

"5. It is a basis of forgiveness, not of mere legal revoca- 
tion of sentence. 

" For Mr. Wesley's practical theology a theory of atone- 
ment was by no means necessary. He required only the 
statement of the great scriptural fact that the work of Christ 
is the ' objective ground of the forgiveness of sins.' In pre- 
senting this fact he sometimes uses the language of Anselm, 
calling this work a satisfaction to divine justice, as when he 
says, in reply to the Roman Catechism, ' What can make 
satisfaction to God but the obedience and death of his Son?' 
The note on Rom. iii. 25, 26 is also decidedly Anselmic in 
its tone. The note on 1 John i. 9 is still stronger, going al- 
most to the full extent of the Calvinistic version of Anselm. 

"In the other passages he uses the language of the Ar- 
minians, presenting the work of Christ as a sacrifice, or ob- 
lation, to God. This is especially the case in Sermon V., i. 
9. ' Even so by the sacrifice for sin made by the second 
Adam, as the representative of us all, God is so far reconciled 
to the world that he hath given them a new covenant, the plain 
condition whereof being once fulfilled, 'there is no more 
wndemnation ! for us, but 'we are justified freely by his 
■?race, through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ.' 
This last passage is probably the most exact statement of 
tb"! work of Christ to be found in Mr. Wesley's writings. 
T.' is statement is essentially distinct from any Calvinistic 
pr isentation of what has been effected for us by the death 
of Christ. That work is here the ground of conditional for- 
giveness for all, not of absolute and unconditional acquittal 
for a defined part. Still, even here there is but an Armin- 
ian statement of the great fact of atonement, not a theory. 
We do not know that Mr. Wesley, in any of his writings, 
accepts or even alludes to the Grotian view,' which is, after 
all, but a wider form of the theory of moral influence." 
We think the moral theory of the atonement is in con- 
26 Y vol. I. 


diet with the spirit as well as with the letter of Mr. Wes- 
ley's theology. As to the theory presented by Grotius, it 
was so liable to grave objection that he has been charged by 
other than Calvini^ts with Soeinian views. However that 
may be, it is certain that Mr. Wesley, in order to avoid dis- 
putations which were not essential to the work in which he 
was engaged, did frequently consent to the use of terms 
which he disliked, and would not have employed of his own 
choice. "Imputed righteousness" was one of these phrases. 

It seems to us that this phrase is in direct conflict with the 
logical expression of the doctrine of forgiveness of sin. "To 
clothe the sinner in the righteousness of Christ" was a sen- 
timent, which Mr. "Wesley did not use, and to accept it seems 
to us to change the whole character of the sinner's relation 
to God. If the sinner is accounted holy in Christ, why is 
he therefore pardoned for sin? 

While Mr. Wesley consented to the occasional use of the 
terms, he clearly defines his meaning, as Prof. Burwash 
states, in this sermon. In that definition there is no sem- 
blance of Calvinism. 


Unfortunate character of religious controversy. Such 
often arises from misunderstanding terms. Importance of 
the truth expressed in the words of the text. Yet here 
Christians differ, but more in language than in opinion, and 
more in opinion than in real experience. 

I. What is the righteousness of Christ? 

1. Divine, as the holy God. 2. Human, as Mediator. 
"With this alone we have to do. This is internal, perfect 
purity; and external, including perfect innocence, perfect 
obedience, and perfect suffering of (bid's will. These last 
two, active and passive, never separated. 

IT. In what-sense is it imputed to us? 

All agree that it is imputed only to believers when the} 
believe. There are differences of expression and of views 


«ven where there is sound faith. The dying Bellarmine. 
It is imputed in this sense to believers, " That they are for- 
given and accepted not for the sake of any thing in them, 
or of any thing that ever was, that is, or ever can be done 
by them, but wholly and solely for the sake of what Christ 
has done for them. . . . And this is the means not only 
of our obtaining the favor of God, but of our continuing 

This doctrine was constantly believed and taught by Wesley 
for nearly twenty-eight years in his hymns, sermons, and in 
the treatise of justification. This doctrine is not denied by 
saying that faith is imputed to us for righteousness, which 
is the scriptural expression for the same truth. The believer 
may be said to be clothed, etc., meaning the same thing. 
We put off the filthy rags of our own righteousness by re* 
pentance; but inherent righteousness has its own place as 
the fruit, not the ground, of our acceptance. Nor is faith 
substituted for Christ. We build on Christ by faith. This 
doctrine is denied by Socinians, by the Church of Eome, 
and by the Mystics. We do not deny it, but we are afraid 
lest the phrase should be a cover for unrighteousness; hence 
we use it sparingly. Appeal to true Christians, both those 
who oppose and those who use these expressions. 





Sunday, November 24, 1765 

'• fhis it his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord put 
Righteousness." — Jke. xziii. 6. 

1. How dreadful and how innumerable are the cvm 
t*sts which have arisen about religion ! And not onh 
among the children of this world, among those who 
knew not what true religion was, but even among the 
children of God ; those who had experienced " the king- 
dom of God within them;" who had tasted of "right- 
eousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Hov 
many of these, in all ages, instead of joining together 
against the common enemy, have turned their weapons 
against each other, and so not only wasted their precious 
time, but hurt one another's spirits, weakened each 
other's hands, and so hindered the great work of their 
common Master ! How many of the weak have hereby 
been offended ! How many of the lame turned out of 
the way ! How many sinners confirmed in their disre- 
gard of all religion, and their contempt of those that 
profess it ! And how many of " the excellent ones upon 
earth" have been constrained to " weep in secret places !" 
2. What would not every lover of God and his neigh- 
bour do, what would he not suffer, to remedy this sore 
evil ; to remove contention from the children of God ; 
to restore or preserve peace among them ? What but a 
good conscience would he think too dear to part with, in 
orde* to promote this valuable end ? And suppose we 
cannot "make" these "wars to cease in all the world;" 
uppoee we cannot reconcile all the children of God t* 


each othei ; however, let each do what he can ; let lain 
contribute, if it be but two mites, toward it. Happy 
arc they who are able, in any degree, to promote "peace 
and good-will among men;" especially among good men ; 
among those that are all listed under the banner of " the 
Prince of peace," and are therefore peculiarly engaged, 
" as much as lies in them," to " live peaceably with all 

3. It would be a considerable step towards this glo- 
rious end, if we could bring good men to understand one 
another. Abundance of disputes arise purely from the 
want of this ; from mere misapprehension. Frequently 
neither of the contending parties understands what his 
opponent means ; whence it follows, that each violently 
attacks the other, while there is no real difference be- 
tween them. And yet it is not always an easy matter 
to convince them of this ; particularly when their pas- 
sions are moved : it is then attended with the utmost 
difficulty. However, it is not impossible; especially 
when we attempt it, not trusting in ourselves, but hav- 
ing all our dependence upon Him with whom all things 
are possible. How soon is he able to disperse the cloud, 
to shine upon their hearts, and to enable them both to 
understand each other, and " the truth as it is in Jesus !" 

4. One very considerable article of this truth is con 
tained in the words above recited, " This is his nanu 
whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteous- 
ness ;" a truth this, which enters deep into the nature 
of Christianity, and in a manner supports the whole 
frame of it. Of this, undoubtedly, may be affirmed, 
what Luther affirms of a truth closely connected with 
it: it is articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesice: the Chris- 
tian church stands or falls with it. It is certainly the 
pillar and ground of that faith, of which alone cometh 
salvation ; of that catholic or universal faith which is 
found in all the children of God, and which " unless s 
man keep whole and undented, without doubt he shal] 
purish everlastingly." 

6- Might not one, therefore, reasonably expect that 


however they differed in others, all those who name tht 
uame of Christ should agree on this point ? But how 
far is this from being the case ! There is scarce aDy 
wherein they are so little agreed ; wherein those who 
all profess to follow Christ, seem so widely and irrecon- 
cilably to differ. I say seem ; because I am thoroughly 
convinced, that many of them only seem to differ. The 
disagreement is more in words than in sentiments : they 
are much nearer in judgment than in language. And a 
wide difference in language there certainly is, not only 
between Protestants and Papists, but between Protest- 
ant and Protestant ; yea, even between those who all 
believe justification by faith ; who agree, as well in this, 
as in every other fundamental doctrine of the gospel. 

6. But if the difference be more in opinion than real 
experience, and more in expression than in opinion, how 
can it be, that even the children of God should so vehe 
mently contend with each other on the point ? Several 
reasons may be assigned for this : the chief is, their not 
understanding one another ; joined with too keen an at- 
tachment to their opinions and particular modes of ex 

In order to remove this, at least in some measure ; in 
order to our understanding one another on this head ; 1 
shall, by the help of God, endeavour to show, 

I. What is the righteousness of Christ : 

II. When, and in what sense, it is imputed to us : 
And conclude with a short and plain application. 
And, I. What is the righteousness of Christ ? It is 

twofold, either his divine or his human righteousness. 

1. His divine righteousness belongs to his divine na- 
ture, as he is O w, He that existeth ; " over all. God 
blessed for ever ;" the Supreme; the Eternal; "equal 
with the Father as touching his Godhead, though infe- 
rior to the Father as touching his manhood." Now this 
is his eternal, essential, immutable holiness ; his inhnite 
justice, mercy, and truth ; in all which, He and the 
Father are one. 

Bat I do not apprehend that the divine righteo&Mteii 


of Christ is immediately concerned in the present ques 
tion. I believe few, if any, do now contend for th< 
imputation of this righteousness to us. Whoever De- 
iiuves the doctrine of imputation, understands it chiefly, 
if not solely, of his human righteousness. 

2. The human righteousness of Christ belongs to him 
in his human nature ; as he is the " Mediator betwees 
God and man, the Man Christ Jesus." This is eithei 
internal or external. His internal righteousness is th« 
image of God, stamped on every power and faculty ot 
his soul. It is a copy of his divine righteousness, so 
far as it can be imparted to a human spirit. It is a 
transcript of the divine purity, the divine justice, mercy, 
and truth. It includes love, reverence, resignation to 
hi3 Father ; humility, meekness, gentleness ; love to 
lost mankind, and every other holy and heavenly tem- 
per; and all these in the highest degree, without any 
defect, or mixture of unholiness. 

3. It was the least part of his external righteousness, 
that he did nothing amiss ; that he knew no outward 
sin of any kind, neither was " guile found in his mouth ;" 
that he never spoke one improper word, nor did one im- 
proper action. Thus far it is only a negative righteous- 
ness, though such a one as never did, nor ever can, be- 
long to any one that is born of a woman, save himself 
alone. But even his outward righteousness was positive, 
too : he did all things well : in every word of his tongue, 
in every work of his hands, he did precisely the " will 
of Him that sent him." In the whole course of his life, 
he did the will of God on earth, as the angels do it in 
heaven. All he acted ahd spoke was exactly right in 
every circumstance. The whole and every part of his obe- 
dience was complete. " He fulfilled all righteousness." 

4. But his obedience implied more than all this : it 
implied not only doing, but suffering ; suffering the 
Whole will of God, from the time he came into the 
trorld, till " he bore our sins in his own body upon the 
fcHe •" yea, till, having made a full atonement for them, 
{ \t lowed his head, and gave up the ghost." This i* 


usually termed the passive righteousness of Christ ; th« 
former, his active righteousness. But as the active and 
passive righteousness of Christ were never, in fact, sepa- 
rated from each other, so we never need separate them 
at all, cither in speaking or even in thinking. And it 
is with regard to both these conjointly, that Jesus u 
called "the Lord our righteousness." 

II. But when is it that any of us may truly say, 
•' The Lord our righteousness ?" In other words, when 
is it that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, 
and in what sense is it imputed ? 

1. Look through all the world, and all the men therein 
are either believers or unbelievers. The first thing, 
then, which admits of no dispute among reasonable 
men is this : to all believers the righteousness of Christ 
is imputed ; to unbelievers it is not. 

But when is it imputed? When they believe: hi 
that very hour the righteousness of Christ is theirs. It 
is imputed to every one that believes, as soon as he 
believes : faith and the righteousness of Christ are in- 
separable. For if he believes according to Scripture, he 
believes in the righteousness of Christ. There is no 
true faith, that is, justifying faith, which hath not the 
righteousness of Christ for its object. 

2. It is true, believers may not all speak alike; thej 
may not all use the same language. It is not to be ex- 
pected that they should : we cannot reasonably require 
it of them. A thousand circumstances may cause them 
to vary from each other, in the manner of expressing 
themselves ; but a difference of expression does not ne- 
cessarily imply a difference of sentiment. Different 
persons may use different expressions, and yet mean the 
wime thing. Nothing is more common than this, al- 
though we seldom make sufficient allowance for it. Nay, 
it is not easy for the same persons, when they speak of 
the same thing at a considerable distance of time, to 
use exactly the same expressions, even though they re- 
tain the same sentiments : how then can we be rigorous in 
requiring others to use just the game expressions with us' 


3. We may go a step farther yet : Men may diffet 
from us in their opinions, as well as their expressions; 
and nevertheless be partakers with us of the same pre- 
sious faith. It is possible they may not have a distinct 
apprehension of the very blessing which they enjoy. 
Their ideas may not be so clear, and yet their experi- 
ence may be as sound as ours. There is a wide differ- 
ence between the natural faculties of men, their under- 
standings in particular; and that difference is exceedingly 
increased by the manner of their education. In- 
deed, this alone may occasion an inconceivable differ- 
ence in their opinions of various kinds ; and why not 
upon this head, as well as on any other ? But still, 
though their opinions, as well as expressions, may be 
confused and inaccurate, their hearts may cleave to God 
through the Son of his love, and be truly interested in 
his righteousness. 

4. Let us then make all that allowance to others, 
which, were we in their place, we would desire for our- 
selves. Who is ignorant (to touch again on that cir- 
cumstance only) of the amazing power of education ? 
And who that knows it, can expect, suppose a member 
of the Church of Rome, either to think or speak clearly 
on this subject ? And yet, if we had heard even dying 
ljellarmine cry out, — when he was asked, " Unto which 
of the saints wilt thou turn 1" — Fidere mentis Christi 
tutissimum ; " It is safest to trust in the merits of 
Christ :" would we have affirmed that, notwithstanding 
his wrong opinions, he had no share in His righteous- 

5. But in what sense is this righteousness imputed to 
believers ? In this : all believers are forgiven and ac- 
cepted, not for the sake of any thing in them, or of any 
thing that ever was, that is, or ever can be done by 
them, but wholly and solely for the sake of what Christ 
hath done and suffered for them. I say again, not for 
the sake of any thing in them, or done by them, of their 
own righteousness or works : " Not for works of right- 
tousness which we have done, but of his own mercy h# 


saved us." " By grace ye are saved through faith, — 
not of works, lest any man should boast ;" but wholly 
and solely for the sake of what Christ hath done and 
suffered for us We are " justified freely by his grace, 
through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." And 
this is not only the means of our obtaining the favour 
of God, but of our continuing therein. It is thus we 
dome to God at first ; it is by the same we come unto 
him ever after. We walk in one and the same new and 
living way, till our spirit returns to God. 

6. And this is the doctrine which I have constantly 
believed and taught, for near eight-and-twenty years. 
This I published to all the world in the year 1738, and 
ten or twelve times since, in those words, and many 
others to the same effect, extracted from the Homilies of 
our Church : — " These things must necessarily go to- 
gether in our justification : upon God's part, his great 
mercy and grace ; upon Christ's part, the satisfaction of 
God's justice; and on our part, faith in the merits of 
Christ. So that the grace of God doth not shut out the 
righteousness of God in our justification, but only shut- 
teth out the righteousness of man, as to deserving our 
justification." " That we are justified by faith alone, 
is spoken to take away clearly all merit of our works, 
and wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our 
justification to Christ only. Our justification comes 
freely of the mere mercy of God. For whereas all the 
world was not able to pay any part toward our ransom, 
it pleased Him, without any of our deserving, to pre- 
pare for us Christ's body and blood, whereby our ransom 
might be paid, and his justice satisfied. Christ, there- 
fore, is now the righteousness of all them that truly be 
lieve in him." 

7. The Hymns published a year or two after this, 
and since republished several times, (a clear testimony 
that my judgment was still the same,) spoak full to the 
same purpose. To cite all the passages to this effect, 
would be to transcribe a great part of the volumes 
Take one for all, which was reprinted seven years ago. 


five years ago, two years ago, and some months 
nnoe: — 

" Jesu, thy blood and righteousness 
My beauty are, my glorious dress: 
Midst flaming worlds, in these array" d, 
With joy shall I lift up my head." 

The whole hymn expresses the same sentiment, from the 
beginning to the end. 

8. In the Sermon on Justification, published nineteen, 
and again seven or eight years ago, I express the same 
thing in these words : (page 70 :) " In consideration of 
this, — that the Son of God hath ' tasted death for every 
man,' God hath now ' reconciled the world unto himself, 
not imputing to them their' former ' trespasses.' So 
that for the sake of his well-beloved Son, of what te 
hath done and suffered for us, God now vouchsafes, on 
one only condition, (which himself also enables us to 
perform,) both to remit the punishment due to our sins, 
to reinstate us in his favour, and to restore our dead 
souls to spiritual life, as the earnest of life eternal." 

9. This is more largely and particularly expressed in 
the Treatise on Justification which I published last year : 
" If we take the phrase of imputing Christ's righteous- 
ness, for the bestowing (as it were) the righteousness of 
Christ, including his obedience, as well passive as active, 
in the return of it, that is, in the privileges, blessings, 
and benefits purchased by it ; so a believer may be said 
to be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed. 
The meaning is, God justifies the believer for the sake 
of Christ's righteousness, and not for any righteous- 
ness of his own. So Calvin : (Institut., 1. 2, c. 17 :) 
' Christ, by his obedience, procured and merited for us 
pice or favour with God the Father.' Again : ' Christ, 
by his obedience, procured or purchased righteousness 
for us.' And yet again : ' All such expressions as these, 
—that we are justified by the grace of God, that Christ 
is our righteousness, that righteousness was procured 
for us by the death and resurrection of Christ, import 
the same thing ; namely, that the righteousness of 

i— a a • 


Christ, both his active and passive righteousness, is the 
meritorious cause of our justification, and has procured 
for us at God's hand, that, upon our believing, w»> 
should be accounted righteous by him.' " (Page 5.) 

10. But perhaps some will object, "Nay, but you 
affirm that faith is imputed to us for righteousness." 
St Paul affirms this over and over; therefore I affirm 
it too. Faith is imputed for righteousness to every 
believer ; namely, faith in the righteousness of Christ. 
But this is exactly the same thing which has been said 
before : for by that expression I mean neither more nor 
less than that we are justified by faith, not by works ; 
or that every believer is forgiven and accepted, merely 
for the sake of what Christ has done and suffered. 

11. But is not a believer invested or clothed with 
the righteousness of Christ ? Undoubtedly he is. And. 
accordingly, the words above recited are the language 
of every believing heart : — 

" Jesu, thy blood and righteousness 
My beauty are, my glorious dress." 

That is, " For the sake of thy active and passive right 
eousness, I am forgiven and accepted of God." 

But must not we put off the filthy rags of our own 
righteousness, before we can put on the spotless right- 
eousness of Christ? Certainly we must; that is, in 
plain terms, we must repent before we can believe the 
gospel. We must be cut off from dependence upon our- 
selves, before we can truly depend upon Christ. We 
must cast away all confidence in our own righteousness, 
or we cannot have a true confidence in his. Till we 
are delivered from trusting in any thing that we do, we 
cannot thoroughly trust in what he has done and suf- 
fered. First, we receive the sentence of death in our- 
selves : then, we trust in Him that lived and died for us 

12. But do not you believe inherent righteousness? 
Yes, in its proper place ; not as the ground of our ac- 
ceptance with God, but as the fruit of it; not in the 
place of imputed righteousness, but as consequent, apop 


it That is, I believe God implants righteousness ii 
every one to whom he has imputed it. I believe, "Jesus 
Christ is made of God unto us sanctification," as well as 
" righteousness ;" or, that God sanctifies, as well as jus- 
tifies, all them that believe in him. They to whom the 
righteousness of Christ is imputed are made righteous 
by the Spirit of Christ ; are renewed in the image of 
God " after the likeness wherein they were created, in 
righteousness and true holiness." 

13. But do not you put faith in the room of Christ, 
or of his righteousness ? By no means : I take parti- 
cular care to put each of these in its proper place. The 
righteousness of Christ is the whole and sole foundation 
of all our hope. It is by faith that the Holy Ghost 
enables us to build upon this foundation. God gives 
this faith ; in that moment we are accepted of God ; and 
et, not for the sake of that faith, but of what Christ 
as done and suffered for us. You see, each of these 
has its proper place, and neither clashes with the other : 
we believe, we love, we endeavour to walk in all the 
commandments of the Lord blameless : yet,— 


" While thus wo bestow 

Our moments below, 

Ourselves we forsake, 
And refuge in Jesus's righteousness take. 

His passion alone, 

The foundation we own ; 

And pardon we claim, 
And eternal redemption, in Jesus's name." 

14. I therefore no more deny the righteousness of 
Christ, than I deny the Godhead of Christ : and a man 
may full as justly charge* me with denying the one as 
the other. Neither do I deny imputed righteousness : 
this is another unkind and unjust accusation. I always 
did, and do still continually affirm, that the righteous 
ness of Christ is imputed to every believer. But who 
deny it ? Why, all infidels, whether baptized or unbap- 
tiied; all who affirm the glorious gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ to be a cunningly devised fable ; all Soci- 
niang and Arians ; all who deny the supremo Godhead 


of the Lord that bought them; they, of consequence, 
deny his divine righteousness, as they suppose him to be 
a mere creature ; and they deny his human righteous- 
ness, as imputed to any man, seeing they believe every 
one is accepted for his own righteousness. 

15. The human righteousness of Christ, at least the 
imputation of it, as the whole and sole meritorious cause 
of the justification of a sinner before God, is likewise 
denied by the members of the Church of Rome ; by all 
of them who are true to the principles of their own 
Church. But, undoubtedly, there are many among them 
whose experience goes beyond their principles; who, 
though they are far from expressing themselves justly, 
yet feel what they know not how to express. Yea, 
although their conceptions of this great truth be as crude 
as their expressions, yet with their hearts they believe : 
they rest on Christ alone, both unto present and eternal 

16. With these we may rank those even in the Re 
formed Churches, who are usually termed Mystics One 
of the chief of these, in the present century, (at least in 
England,) was Mr. Law. It is well known that he ab- 
solutely and zealously denied the imputation of the 
righteousness of Christ, as zealously as Robert Barclay, 
who scruples not to say, " Imputed righteousness ! — 
imputed nonsense !" The body of the people known by 
the name of Quakers espouse the same sentiment. Nay. 
the generality of those who profess themselves members 
of the Church of England are either totally ignorant of 
the matter, and know nothing about imputed righteous- 
ness, or deny this and justification by faith together, as 
destructive of good works. To these we may add a 
considerable number of the people vulgarly styled Ana- 
baptists, together with thousands of Presbyterians and 
Independents, lately enlightened by the writings of Dr. 
Taylor. On the last I am not called to pass any sen- 
tence : I leave them to him that made them. But wiF 
any one dare to aflBrm that all Mystics, (such as Mr 
uaw, in particular,) all Quakers, all Presbyterians oi 



Independents, and all members of the Church of Eng- 
land who are not clear in their opinions or expressions, 
are void of all Christian experience ? — that, consequent- 
ly, they are all in a state of damnation, " without hope, 
without God in the world ?" However confused their 
ideas may be, however improper their language, may 
there not be many of them whose heart is right toward 
God, and who effectually know " the Lord our right- 
eousness 1" 

17. But, blessed be God, we are not among those who 
are so dark in their conceptions and expressions. We 
no more deny the phrase than the thing ; but we are 
unwilling to obtrude it on other men. Let them use 
either this or such other expressions as they judge to 
be more exactly scriptural, provided their heart rest? 
only on what Christ hath done and suffered, for pardon, 
grace, and glory. I cannot express this better than in 
Mr. Hervey's words, worthy to be wrote in letters of 
gold : " We are not solicitous as to any particular set of 
phrases Only let men be humbled as repenting crimi- 
nals at Christ's feet, let them rely as devoted pen- 
sioners on his merits, and they are undoubtedly in the 
way to a blessed immortality." 

18 Is there any need, is there any possibility, of 
saying more ? Let us only abide by this declaration, 
and all the contention about this or that particular 
phrase is torn up by the roots. Keep to this, — " All 
who are humbled as repenting criminals at Christ's feet, 
and rely as devoted pensioners on his merits, are in the 
way to a blessed immortality ;" and what room for dis- 
pute ? Who denies this ? Do we not all meet on this 
ground ? What then shaft we wrangle about ? A man 
of peace here proposes terms of accommodation to all the 
contending parties. We desire no better : we accept of 
the terms : we subscribe to them with heart and hand. 
Whoever refuses so to do, set a mark upon that man ! 
He is an enemy of peace, a troubler of Israel, a disturbei 
>f the church of God. 

19 In the mean time, what we are afraid of is tbia; 

20 »*» U 


— lest any should uso the phrase, " The righteousnes* 
of Christ," or, " The righteousness of Christ is imputed 
to me," as a cover for his unrighteousness. We \v\\o 
known this done a thousand times. A man has been 
improved, suppose, for drunkenness : " Oh," said he, " I 
pretend to no righteousness of my own ; Christ is my 
righteousness." Another has been told, that " the ex- 
tortioner, the unjust shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God :" he replies, with all assurance, "I am unjust in 
myself, but I have a spotless righteousness in Christ." 
And thus, though a man be as far from the practice as 
from the tempers of a Christian ; though he neither 
has the mind which was in Christ, nor in any respect 
walks as he walked ; yet he has armour of proof against 
all conviction, in what he calls " the righteousness of 

20. It is the seeing so many deplorable instances of 
this kind, which makes us sparing in the use of these 
expressions. And I cannot but call upon all of you 
who use them frequently, and beseech you in the name 
of God our Saviour, whose you arc, and whom you serve, 
earnestly to guard all that hear you against this accursed 
abuse of them. Oh, warn them (it may be they will hear 
your voice) against " continuing in sin that grace may 
abound !" Warn them against making " Christ the 
minister of sin ;" against making void that solemn 
decree of God, " without holiness no man shall see the 
Lord," by a vain imagination of being holy in Christ! 
Oh, warn them that if they remain unrighteous, the right- 
eousness of Christ will profit them nothing ! Cry aloud, 
(is there not a cause ?) that for this very end the right- 
eousness of Christ is imputed to us, that " the righteous- 
ness of the law may be fulfilled in us ;" and that we 
may " live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present 

It remains only to make a short and plain appli- 
cation. And, first, 1 would address myself to you who 
violently oppose these expressions, and are ready to 

condemn all that use them as Antinomians. Bat is o<*t 


this bending the bow too much the other way? Why 
should you condemn all who do not speak just as yon 
do? Why should you quarrel with them, for using the 
phrases they like, any more than they with you foi 
taking the same liberty? Or, if they do quarrel with 
you upon that account, do not imitate the bigotry whicb 
you blame. At least, allow them the liberty which 
they ought to allow you. And why should you be 
angry at an expression ? " Oh, it has been abused !" 
And what expression has not? However, the abuse 
may be removed, and at the same time the use remain. 

Above all, be sure to retain the important sense which 
is couched under that expression : " All the blessings ] 
enjoy, all I hope for in time and in eternity, are given 
wholly and solely for the sake of what Christ has done 
and suffered for me." 

I would, secondly, add a few words to you who are 
fond of these expressions. And permit me to ask, Do 
not I allow enough? What can any reasonable man 
desire more ? I allow the whole sense which you con- 
tend for; that we have every blessing through the 
righteousness of God our Saviour. I allow you to use 
whatever expressions you choose, and that a thousand 
times over j only guarding them against that dreadful 
abuse, which you are as deeply concerned to prevent u.- 
I am. I myself frequently use the expression in ques 
tion, — imputed righteousness ; and often put this and 
the like expressions into the mouth of a whole con- 
gregation. But allow me the liberty of conscience 
herein : allow me the right of private judgment. Allow 
me to use it just as often .as I judge it preferable to any 
other expression ; and be not angry with me if I cannot 
judge it proper to use any one expression every two 
minutes. You may, if you please ; but do not condemn 
me because I do not. Do not, for this, represent me as 
a Papist, or "an enemy to the righteousness of Christ." 
Bear with me, as I do with you; else how shall we 
" fulfil the law of Christ ?" Do not make tragical out 
vieg, as though T were " subverting the very founds 
27 VOL. I. Z u 


tions of Christianity." Whoever does this, docs mc 
much wrong : the Lord lay it not to his charge ! I lay, 
and have done for many years, the very same founda- 
tion with you. And, indeed, " other foundation can no 
man lay, than that which is laid, even Jesus Christ." 
[ build inward and outward holiness thereon, as you do, 
even by faith. Do not, therefore, suffer any distaste, 01 
unkindness, no, nor any shyness or coldness of your 
heart. If there were a difference of opinion, where is 
our religion, if we cannot think and let think ? What 
hinders but you may forgive me as easily as I may for- 
give you ? How much more, when there is only a dif- 
ference of expression ? Nay, hardly so much as that ? 
all the dispute being only, whether, -a particular mode of 
expression shall be used more or less frequently ? Sure- 
ly we must earnestly desire to contend with one another, 
before we can make this a bone of contention ! Oh, let 
us not any more, for such very trifles as these, give our 
common enemies room to blaspheme ! Rather let us at 
length cut off occasion from them that seek occasion ! 
Let us at length (Oh, why was it not done before ?) join 
hearts and hands in the service of our great Master. 
A.8 we have " one Lord, one faith, one hope of our call- 
ing," let us all strengthen each other's hands in God, 
*nd with one heart and one mouth declare to all mankind 
" Tmt Lord our Righteousness." 


Ques. 1. (If 1.) What is said about the contest concerning 

Ques. 2. (\ 2.) What ought we to do to avoid these? 

Ques. 3. (fl 3.) What is a considerable step toward this 

Ques. 4. (If 4.) What considerable article of truth is men- 
tioned ? 

Ques. 5. (If 5.) Should there be agreement on this point? 

Ques. 6. (1f 8.) Is the difference in opinion rather than in 

Ques. 7. (I. 1.) How is this definition divided? 

Ques. 8. (I. 1.) To what does the divine righteousness be- 

Qnes. 9. (I. 2.) What is the human righteousness? 

Ques. 10. (I. 3.) What is the negative side of this? 

Ques. 11. (1.4.) Does his obedience imply more than this? 

Ques. 12. (II. 1.) How is the world divided? 

Ques. 13. (II. 2.) Do believers speak the same language? 

Ques. 14. (II. 3.) May we go farther than this? What is 
said of those who differ from us? 

Ques. 15 (II. 4.) How should we make allowance for 

Ques. 16. (II. 5.) In what sense is this righteousness im- 

Ques. 17. (II. 6.) What appeal does he make to his early 

Ques. 18. (n. 7.) What does he say of his published 



Ques. 19. (II. 8.) And of the sermon on justification? 

Ques. 20. (II. 9.) Where is the same view more largely 

Ques. 21. (II. 10.) What is said of faith imputed for 

Ques. 22. (II. 11.) How does he explain the use of the 
expression that a believer is invested, or clothed, with the 
righteousness of Christ? 

Ques. 23. (II. 12.) What is said of inherent righteousness? 

Ques. 24. (II. 13.) Is faith to be put in the room of Christ? 

Ques. 25. (II. 14.) How does he repel the charge of deny- 
ing the righteousness of Christ? 

Ques. 26. (II. 15.) What does the Churct of Rome deny? 

Ques. 27. (II. 16.) Who are ranked with these? 

Ques. 28. (II. 17.) What does he say of the liberty he 
grants to others ? 

Ques. 29. (II. 18.) To what ought we to keep? 

Ques. 30. (II. 19.) Here he explains his meaning fully. 
Does he not say that the righteousness of Christ is not a 
cover for the unrighteousness of men ? 

Ques. 31. (II. 20.) Why is he sparing in the use of thea 

Ques. 32. (II. 21.) How does the sermon conclude? 




"The sermons now before us," says Prof. Burwash, "com 
tain Mr. Wesley's system of Christian ethics. It is a sys- 
tem thoroughly in harmony with his theology, and growing 
out of it as the branch from the trunk of the tree. In the 
great theological works of the present age Christian ethics 
are universally recognized as a most important province of 
Christian theology. The distinction between Christian eth- 
ics and the- old philosophical systems of ethics is also very 
clearly drawn. 'The latter proceed from the moral con- 
sciousness as such/ while the former grow from the moral 
consciousness as a 'religious and evangelical Christian conscious' 
ness of God' Hagenbach says: 'Christian ethics expound 
the theory of the inward and outward moral relations of man 
as growing out of living faith in Christ.' No definition could 
more completely express that which has been done by Mr. 
Wesley in these sermons. His grand division of the sub- 
ject into subjective character and objective motive exactly corre- 
sponds to the 'inward and outward moral relations' of Ha- 

"The subject of Christian duty has always occupied a very 
important place in religious teaching of all schools. Prior 
to the Reformation the Latin writers might be divided into 
two great classes: those whose conception of Christian duty 
lay in a prescribed form of outward observances, and those 
with whom the essence of duty lay in certain inward states. 
8 .421. 


Both these had their doctrine, or ideal, of Christian perfeo 
tion. These ethical systems were not only a part of relig- 
ion, but constituted almost the whole of it. The Reforma- 
tion, with its doctrine of faith as the central element of 
religion, of course differed largely from this teaching. Chris- 
tian ethics were not discarded, but they occupied a new and 
less prominent relation to religion. The starting-point of 
ethics was now the absolute sovereignty of God, whose im- 
mutable law was the absolute standard of right and the only 
perfection ; and Christian ethics were the imperfect outgoing 
of the new life toward this ideal, of which, however, it could 
not but fall infinitely short. This outgoing of the new life 
toward duty was incapable of perfection and incapable of 
merit, and was in no proper sense a condition of probation or 
of salvation. The treatment of ethics in these theological 
systems was not so much an exposition of Christian duty as 
an exposition of absolute moral law, in the light of which 
men might see their own sinfulness and the glory of Christ's 
atoning work. The basis universally adopted for this expo- 
sition was the moral law in the Ten Commandments. 

" In Mr. Wesley's time writers on moral duty might be di- 
vided into three classes: (1) Many of the Church writers, 
such as Taylor and Law, approached very closely to the 
Romish methods of expounding Christian duty. (2) The 
descendants of the Puritans very faithfully represented the 
ethical teaching of the Reformation, and especially of Cal- 
vin. (3) There had grown up a new school of ethical writ- 
ers, who revived the philosophical ethics of the ancients, 
and in the case of Butler carried them to a perfection not 
surpassed before or perhaps since. From all these Mr. Wes- 
ley's treatment of the great question of human duty differed. 
It would be too much to say that he inaugurated a new and 
original system or method of treatment, and yet in many re- 
spects this is true. We have already seen how he gathered 
into one in his own religious life the great truths of religion 
and duty from all branches of the Christian Church, and in 


this sense it would be wrong to claim too much credit for 
originality. But in this he was original, and was far in ad- 
vance of his age, and has not been surpassed by the best ex- 
pounder of Christian ethics of the present century, in that 
he combined into one the probational ethics of the Romish 
Church, the absolute and evangelical ethics of the theology 
of the Eeformation, and the highest principles of philo- 
sophical ethics, and from them all evolved a conception of 
Christian duty in which God is supreme sovereign in a true 
moral and not in a mere determinist sense, his nature the 
absolute fountain of light and his glory the supreme end, in 
which the love of Christ is supreme motive, and of which 
Christian perfection is the blessed realization in the living 
experience of the Church. 

" In selecting a scriptural basis for the exposition of Chris- 
tian duty, Mr. Wesley was especially wise and fortunate in 
selecting the Sermon on the Mount rather than the Old Tes- 
tament Decalogue. The Sermon on the Mount is distin- 
guished by the following peculiarities of its ethical teaching: 

"1. It deals with the inward character as well as with the 
outward life. 

"2. It treats of outward acts from the stand-point of inten- 
tion, by which their moral quality is determined and they 
are intimately linked to the inner man. 

" 3. It thus presents not a mere negative morality of absti- 
nence from sin, but a positive moral quality, a holiness of 
all acts, even those otherwise indifferent. 

" 4. It uses specific moral states and acts merely as illustra- 
tions of general principles which are of universal application 

"5. It unites the inward and subjective law of love with 
the objective law of responsibility to a supreme authority en- 
forced by reward and punishment. It thus becomes a law 
of Christian, though not of Adamic, probation. All these 
principles were clearly apprehended by Wesley, and will be 
found to permeate his sermons and his entire theology as 
they do this great sermon of our Lord. The last of these 


especially is exhibited in the Wesleyan theology as in no 
other system. It holds, without question or possibility of 
cavil, the great doctrine of man's free responsibility, and in a 
thoroughly evangelical manner it evolves all Christian mo- 
rality from faith working by love." 


The teacher here is the King, the Lawgiver, the Eternal 
Wisdom. He here teaches the perfect will of God, the nat- 
ure of that holiness without which no man can see the Lord. 
He teaches this to the whole race of mankind. He teaches 
it here in a comprehensive manner, such as we have no- 
where else except in the Decalogue ; and in the spirit of love, 
yet with authority. The discourse divides itself into three 
principal branches: 

I. In the fifth chapter the sum of all true religion — the 
right state of the heart — is laid down, and guarded against 
the false glosses of men. 

II. In the sixth chapter are given the rules of right in- 
tention, which we are to preserve in all our outward actions 
unmixed with worldly desires or anxious cares even for nec- 
essaries of life. 

III. In the seventh chapter are given cautions against 
the main hinderances of religion, and exhortations to its 

I. The sum of all true religion in eight particulars, and 
explained and guarded against the false glosses of men. 
(Sermons XXI.-XXV.) 

1. Poverty of spirit, or conviction of sin, renouncing our- 
selves and our own righteousness. To which is given the 
promise of the kingdom of heaven, which is "righteous- 
ness," etc. 

2. Mourning, contrition, sorrow for sin and after God. 

3. Meekness, restraining all violent passions. Guarded by 
our Lord against interpretations suited to the weak sinful- 
ness of the human heart, and the way of reconciliation defined. 


4. Hunger and thirst after righteousness. Earnest desire 
which cannot be satisfied with a mere outward righteousness. 

5. The merciful, which as one aspect includes all tender 
charity or love. (1 Cor. xiii.) 

6. Purity of heart, which our Lord illustrates from the 
seventh and the third commands of the Decalogue. 

7. Peace-makers. The spirit of universal benevolence. 
Doing good to all men. 

8. Patient endurance of persecution, extending even to 
loving and praying for enemies. Such is the inward state 
of heart of the Christian. The beauty of holiness, which 
in kind, though not in degree, is perfect even as our Father 
in heaven is perfect. 

But this religion is not to be merely inward. It must dif- 
fuse itself to others, must shine as the light, and be seen in 
good works. Christianity is a social and not a solitary relig- 
ion. This appears from Scripture and from the reasons of 
the case. The opposite doctrine is shown to be a mistake. 
But the manifestation of our religion must be purely for the 
glory of God. Nor does this inward religion dispense with 
obligation to the external moralities of the Decalogue. 
Violation of the least command must be fatal to enjoyment 
of this inward kingdom. It is opposed to Antinomianism, 
but its perfection is infinitely beyond mere outward Pharisa- 
ism, both in the strictness of the outward act, and especially 
in the inward spirit. 

II. The complement of that inward holiness — those dis- 
positions, tempers, and affections which spring from living 
faith in Christ, and which manifest themselves in all good 
works, and in keeping of law both in spirit and in letter — 
is right intention. 

Purity of intention gives moral quality to all acts. This 
our Lord illustrates— 

1. In acts of mercy, which are vitiated if done to be seen 
of men. 

2. In acts of religion, as prayer and fasting, which must 


be the simple outpouring of the heart of God alone, of 
which our Lord gives us the pattern, covering all that we 
can reasonably pray for or earnestly desire. So also in fast- 
ing we must consider: (1) The nature of this religious act; 
(2) the reasons, grounds, and ends of it; (3) whence we mav 
answer objections against it; and (4) learn the right manner 
of performing it. 

3. In the acts of common life. Business. Intention is 
the eye of the soul. Purity fills it with light, sin with dark- 
ness. A double intention of life is not possible. We can- 
not lay up treasures on earth and preserve purity of inten- 
tion. But this does not exclude provision for honest living, 
for the comfort of our family, and for the proper mainte- 
nance of our worldly business. But the love of money and 
the desire for and endeavor after riches, and the trust in 
riches and seeking their increase, are excluded. We cannoi 
serve two masters. 

III. The main hinderances to this religion. 

1. Judging, or the censorious spirit which indulges speak- 
ing evil of either the present or absent, and all thinking 
evil and condemning the innocent beyond what they de- 

2. The broad, easy-going, careless spirit. " Wide is the 
gate and broad the way," etc. Whereas the way of life is a 
narrow way, a way of universal holiness, to be entered only 
by the most earnest striving. 

3. False teaching. Responsibility of teachers. The ap- 
pearance of innocence, usefulness, religion, love, etc. What 
are the practical fruits of these doctrines? In the teachers 
themselves? In their disciples? 

Final exhortation. The house built on the sand. Say- 
ing, "Lord, Lord!" Expecting to reach heaven by any 
other than the way of holiness, such as orthodoxy, inno- 
cence, external good works. 

The house built on the rock. Summary of true religicua 
life, and application to his hearers. 


I. The time. After our Lord had gone through Galilee, 
teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the 
kingdom. The natural consequence was the gathering to- 
gether of a great multitude, who followed him from place 
to place. 

II. The speaker. The Lord of heaven and earth, the 
Creator of all. The eternal wisdom of the Father, who 
made man and understands his frame. This knowledge the 
great Prophet employed in giving the precepts and com- 
mandments which infinite wisdom knew were adapted to 
the wants of his creatures. 

III. The subject. The way to heaven. He who came 
from heaven reveals the means by which we may come to 
the place he has prepared for us after the duties of this life 
are performed. The royal way which leads to the kingdom 
is pointed out. Nothing superfluous is here recorded, and 
nothing is omitted. While explaining faithful and true 
Bayings, he refutes the errors and mistakes of the scribes and 
Pharisees, and rebukes the teachers who had perverted the 
ways of truth and righteousness. 

IV. The audience. Not the twelve disciples only. For 
these a small room had been sufficient. Here on the ascent 
of the mountain a great multitude is gathered. To these 
severally, the twelve included, the sermon is delivered ; but 
not for them only. It is intended for all men and for all 
ages. The whole race of mankind is here taught the way 
of salvation. 



V- The manner. He spake as never man spake. As one 
having authority, and not as the scribes. He does not teach 
as Paul or Peter or John ; nor yet as Moses, the lawgiver of 
the Jews. His manner difiers from his own ordinary course. 
At no other time or place does it seem that he intended to 
give us a full prospect of Christianity. Particular branches 
he had described on many occasions, but never before was 
there a purpose to present the whole system in its connected 
parts. His words are spoken in amazing love ; not with the 
terrors of Sinai, but with the mild, persuasive appeals which 
address the reason and inform the understanding. The dis- 
course is divided into three principal branches — the first, 
contained in the fifth chapter, the sum of all true religion; 
the second, in the sixth chapter, the rule for right intention; 
the third, in the seventh chapter, cautions against the main 
hinderances of religion. 

VI. The sum of all true religion. The foundation of all 
is poverty of spirit. Not merely freedom from covetousness. 
In what sense St. Paul says " the love of money is the root 
of all evil." Conviction of sin and consequent repentance. 
Lowliness of heart is true Christian humility. The blessed- 
ness of mourners. The promise, " They shall be comforted." 
Thw application. 




■ And teeing the multitude*, he went up into a mountain : an* 
when he was let, hit disciples came unto him : 

' And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 

•Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of 

'Blessed art they that mourn: for they shall be eomforted."— 
Matt. ▼. 1-4. 

1. Our Lord had now "gone about all Galilee," 
(Matt. iv. 23,) beginning at the time ' ' when John was 
cast into prison," (verse 12,) not only " teaching in 
their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the king- 
dom," but likewise " healing all manner of sickness 
and all manner of disease among the people." It was 
a natural consequence of this, that "there followed him 
great multitudes from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and 
from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from the regior 
beyond Jordan." (Verse 25.) "And seeing the multi 
tildes," whom no synagogue could contain, even haa 
there been any at hand, " be went up into a mountain,' 
where there was room for all that came unto him from 
every quarter. " And when he was set," as the manner 
of the Jews was, " his disciples came unto him. And 
he opened his mouth," (an expression denoting the 
beginning of a solemn discourse,) " and taught them, 

2. Let us observe, who it is that is here speaking, 
that we may take heed how we hear. It is the Lord of 


heaven and earth, the Creator of all; who, as such, has 
a right to dispose of all his creatures; the Lord our 
Governor, whose kingdom is from everlasting, and ruletb 
over all ; the great Lawgiver, who can well enforce all 
his laws, being " able to save and to destroy," yea, to 
punish with " everlasting destruction from his presence 
and from the glory of his power." It is the eternal 
Wisdom of the Father, who knoweth whereof we are 
made, and understands our inmost frame ; who knows 
how we stand related to God, to one another, to every 
creature which God hath made, and, consequently, how 
to adapt every law he prescribes to all the circumstances 
wherein he hath placed us. It is He who is " loving 
unto every man, whose mercy is over all his works;" the 
God of love, who, having emptied himself of his eternal 
glory, is come forth from his Father to declare his will 
to the children of men, and then goeth again to the 
Father; who is sent of God "to open the eyes of the 
blind, and to give light to them that sit in darkness." 
It is the great Prophet of the Lord, concerning whom 
God had solemnly declared long ago, " Whosoever will 
not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my 
name, I will require it of him ;" (Deut. xviii. 19 ;) or, 
as the apostle expresses it, " Every soul which will not 
hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the 
people." (Acts iii. 23.) 

3. And what is it which he is teaching ? The Son of 
God, who came from heaven, is here showing us the way 
to heaven ; to the place which he hath prepared for us; 
the glory he had before the world began. He is teach- 
ing us the true way to life everlasting; the royal way 
which leads to the kingdom ; and the only true way, — 
for there is none besides ; all other paths lead to de- 
struction. From the character of the Speaker, we are 
well assured that he hath declared the full and perfect 
will of God. He hath uttered not one tittle too much, 
nothing more than he had received of the Father; noi 
too little, — he hath not shunned to declare the whole 
mussel of God ; much less hath he uttered any thing 


wrong, any thing contrary to the will of him that sent 
him. All his words are true and right concerning all 
things, and shall stand fast for ever and ever. 

And we may easily remark, that in explaining and 
confirming these faithful and true sayings, he takes care 
to refute not only the mistakes of the scribes and Pha- 
risees, which then were the false comments whereby the 
Jewish teachers of that age had perverted the word of 
God, but all the practical mistakes that are inconsistent 
with salvation, which should ever arise in the Christian 
church ; all the comments whereby the Christian teachers 
(so called) of any age or nation should pervert the word 
of God, and teach unwary souls to seek death in the 
error of their life. 

4. And hence we are naturally led to observe, whom 
it is that he is here teaching. Not the apostles alone : 
if so, he had no need to have gone up into the moun- 
tain. A room in the house of Matthew, or any of his 
disciples, would have contained the twelve. Nor does 
it in anywise appear that the disciples who came unto 
him were the twelve only. Oi ftoS^roi avtov, without 
any force put upon the expression, may be understood 
of all who desired to learn of him. But to put this out 
of all question, to make it undeniably plain that where 
it is said, "He opened his mouth and taught them," 
the word them includes all the multitudes who went up 
with him into the mountain, we need only observe the 
concluding verses of the seveqth chapter : " And it came 
to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the multi- 
tudes (ot ogvu) were astonished at his doctrine," or 
teaching j " for he taught th^m," the multitudes, " an 
one having authority, and not as the scribes." 

Nor was it only those multitudes who were with him 
on the mount, to whom he now taught the way of salva- 
tion ; but all the children of men ; the whole race of 
mankind ; the children that were yet unborn ; all the 
generations to come, even to the end of the world, wh. 
ihould ever hear the words of this life. 

6. And this all men allow, with regard to some part* 


of the ensuing discourse. No man, for instance, dcniet 
that what is said of poveity of spirit relates to all man 
kind. But many have supposed, that other parts con 
cerned only the apostles, or the first Christians, or the 
ministers of Christ ; and were never designed for the 
generality of men, who, consequently, have nothing a; 
all to do with them. 

But may we not justly inquire, who told them this, 
that some parts of this discourse concerned only the 
apostles, or the Christians of the apostolic age, or the 
ministers of Christ? Bare assertions are not a suffi- 
cient proof to establish a point of so great importance. 
Has then our Lord himself taught us, that some parts 
of his discourse do not concern all mankind ? Without 
doubt, had it been so, he would have told us ; he could 
not have omitted so necessary an information. But has 
he told us so? Where? In the discourse itself? No: 
here is not the least intimation of it. Has he said so 
elsewhere ? in any other of his discourses ? Not one 
word so much as glancing this way can we find in any 
thing he ever spoku, either to the multitudes or to his 
disciples. Has any one of the apostles, or other in- 
spired writers, left such an instruction upon record ? 
No such thing. No assertion of this kind is to be found 
in all the onicles of God. Who then are the men who 
arc so much wiser than God 1 — wise so far above that 
is written ? 

6. Perhaps they will say that the reason of the thing 
requires such a restriction to be made. If it does, it 
must be on one of these two accounts ; because, without 
such a restriction, the discourse would either be appa- 
rently absurd, or would contradict some other scrip- 
ture. But this is not the case. It will plainly appear, 
when we come to examine the several particulars, that 
thoro is no absurdity at all in applying all which our 
Lord hath here delivered to all mankind. Neither will 
■t infer any contradiction to any thing else he has de- 
livered, nor to any other scripture whatever Nay, il 
■rill further appear, that either all the parts of this dii 


eour*e arc to be applied to men in general, or no part ; 
seeing they are all connected together, all joined as the 
gtones in an arch, of which you cannot take one away 
without destroying the whole fabric. 

7. Wc may, lastly, observe, how our Lord teachei 
here. And surely, as at all times, so particularly at 
this, he speaks "as never man spake." Not as the 
holy men of old ; although they also spoke " as they 
were moved by the Holy Ghost." Not as Peter, or 
James, or John, or Paul : there were indeed wise master- 
builders in his church ; but still in this, in the degree 
of heavenly wisdom, the servant is not as his Lord No, 
nor even as himself at any other time, or on any other 
occasion. It does not appear, that it was ever his design, 
at any other time or place, to lay down at once the whole 
plan of his religion ; to give us a full prospect of Chris- 
tianity : to describe at large the nature of that holiness 
without which no man shall see the Lord. Particular 
branches of this he has indeed described, on a thousand 
different occasions ; but never, besides here, did he give, 
of set purpose, a general view of the whole. Nay, we 
have nothing else of this kind in all the Bible ; unless 
one should except that short sketch of holiness delivered 
by God in those ten words or commandments to Moses, 
on mount Sinai. But even here how wide a difference 
is there between one and the other ! " Even that which 
was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason 
of the glory that excellcth." (2 Cor. iii. 10.) 

8. Above all, with what amazing love does the Son 
of God here reveal his Father's will to man ! Ho does 
not bring us again "to the mount that burned with fire, 
nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest." Ho 
does not speak as when he " thundered out of heaven ;" 
Then the Highest " gave his thunder, hailstones and 
*als of fire." He now addresses us with his still, 
■mall voice, — " Blessed," or happy, " are the poor in 
spirit." Happy are the mourners ; the meek ; those 
that hunger after righteousness ; the merciful ; the Dure 
'n heart ; happy in the end and in the way ; happy \v 

28 I-2B a 


this life, and ju life everlasting ! As if he had said, 
" Who is he that iusteth to live, and would fi»in see good 
days ? Behold, 1 show you the thing which your soul 
longeth for ! See the way you have so long sought in 
vain ; the way of pleasantness ; the path to calm, joyous 
peace, to heaven below, and heaven above !" 

9. At the same time, with what authority does he 
teach! Well might they say, "Not as the scribes." 
Observe the manner, (but it cannot be expressed in 
words,) the air with which he speaks ! Not as Moses, 
the servant of God ; not as Abraham, his friend ; not 
as any of the prophets ; nor as any of the sons of men 
It is something more than human ; more than can agree 
to any created being. It speaks the Creator of all ! 
A God, a God appeals! Yea, o ON, the Being of 
beings, Jehovah, the Self-existent, the Supreme, the 
Q-od who is over all, blessed for ever. 

10. This divine discourse, delivered in the most ex- 
cellent method, every subsequent part illustrating those 
that precede, is commonly, and not improperly, divided 
into three principal branches : the first, contained in the 
fifth, — the second, in the sixth, — and the third, in the 
seventh chapter. In the first, the sum of all true reli- 
gion is laid down in eight particulars, which are ex- 
plained, and guarded against the false glosses of man, 
in the following parts of the fifth chapter. In the se- 
cond are rules for that right intention which we are to 
preserve in all our outward actions, unmixed with 
worldly desires, or anxious cares for even the necessaries 
of life. In the third are cautions against the main hin 
iterances of religion, closed with an application of the 

I. 1. Our Lord first lays down the sum of all true 
religion in eight particulars, which he explains nvi 
guards against the false glosses of men to the end Df tli 
fifth chapter. 

Some have supposed that he designed, in these, to 
point out the several stages of the Christian course ; the 
steps which a Christian successively takes in his journey 


to the promised land; — others, that all the particular, 
here set down belong at all times to every Christian 
And why may we not allow both the one and the other ? 
What inconsistency is there between them t It is un- 
doubtedly true, that both poverty of spirit, and every 
other temper which is here mentioned, are at all times 
found, in a greater or less degree, in every real Chris- 
tian. And it is equally true, that real Christianity 
always begins in poverty of spirit, and goes on in the 
order here s.. • down, till the " man of God is made 
perfect." \Vc begin at the lowest of these gifts of God ; 
yet so as not to relinquish this, when we are called of 
God to come up higher; but " whereunto we have 
already attained, we hold fast," while we press on to 
what is yet before, to the highest blessings of God in 
Christ Jesus. 

2. The foundation of all is poverty of spirit : here, 
therefore, our Lord begins : " Blessed," saith he, " are the 
poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 

It may not improperly be supposed, that our I/ord 
looked on those who were round about him, and, observ- 
ing, that not many rich were there, but rather the poor 
of the world, took occasion from thence to make ;i 
•ransitiou from temporal to spiritual things. "Blessed," 
saith he, (or happy, — so the word should be rendered. 
both in this and the following verses,) " are the poor in 
spirit." He does not say, they that are poor as to out- 
ward circumstances, — it being not impossible that some 
of these may be as far from happiness as a monarch 
upon his throne ; but " the poor in spirit," — they who 
whatever their outward circumstances are, have that dis- 
position of heart which is the first step to all real, sub- 
stantial happiness, either in this world, or that which is 
to come. 

3. Some have judged, that by the poor in spirit here, 
we meant those who love poverty ; those who are free 
from covetousness, from the love of money ; who fear, 
rather than desire, riches. Perhaps they have been in- 
luccd so to judge, by wholly confining thei- thought* to 


the very term ; or by considering that weighty observa 
tion of St. Paul, that " the love of money is the root of 
all evil." And hence many have wholly divested them- 
selves, not only of riches, but of all worldly goods. 
Hence also the vows of voluntary poverty seem to have 
arisen in the Romish Church ; it being supposed, that 
go eminent a degree of this fundamental grace must be 
a large step toward the " kingdom of heaven." 

But these do not seem to have observed, first, that the 
expression of St. Paul must be understood with some 
restriction ; otherwise it is not true ; for the love of 
money is not the root, the sole root, of all evil. There 
are a thousand other roots of evil in the world, as sad 
experience daily shows. His meaning can only be, it is 
the root of very many evils ; perhaps of more than any 
single vice besides. — Secondly, that this sense of the 
expression, " poor in spirit," will by no means suit our 
Lord's present design, which is to lay a general founda- 
tion whereon the whole fabric of Christianity may be 
built ; a design which would be in no wise answered by 
guarding against one particular vice : so that, if even 
this were supposed to be one part of his meaning, it 
could not possibly be the whole. — Thirdly, that it can- 
not be supposed to be any part of his meaning, unless 
we charge him with manifest tautology; seeing, if po- 
verty of spirit were only freedom from covetousness, 
from the love of money, or the desire of riches, it would 
coincide with what he afterwards mentions, it would be 
only a branch of purity of heart. 

4. Who then are " the poor in spirit?" Without 
question, the humble ; they who know themselves ; who 
are convinced of sin ; those to whom God hath given that 
first repentance, which is previous to faith in Christ. 

One of these can no longer say, " I am rich, and in- 
creased in goods, and have need of nothing ;" as now 
knowing, that he is " wretched, and poor, and miserable, 
and blind, and naked." He is convinced that he is 
npiritually poor indeed ; having no spiritual good abiding 
; n him '' In me," saith he, " dwelleth no good thing,' 


bat whatsoever is evil and abominable. He has a deep 
jcnse of the loathsome leprosy of sin, which he brought 
with him from his mother's womb, which overspreads 
his whole soul, and totally corrupts every power aud 
faculty thereof. He sees more and more of the evil 
tempers which spring from that evil root ; the pride and 
haughtiness of spirit, the constant bias to think of him- 
self more highly than he ought to think ; the vanity, 
the thirst after the esteem or honour that cometh frcm 
men ; the hatred or envy, the jealousy or revenge, the 
anger, malice, or bitterness; the inbred enmity both 
against God and man, which appears in ten thousand 
shapes ; the love of the world, the self-will, the foolish 
and hurtful desires, which cleave to his inmost soul. He 
is conscious how deeply he has offended by his tongue ; 
if not by profane, immodest, untrue, or unkind words, 
jet by discourse which was not " good to the use of 
edifying," not " meet to minister grace to the hearers,' 
which, consequently, was all corrupt in God's account, 
and grievous to his Holy Spirit. His evil works are 
now likewise ever in his sight : if he tells them, they 
are more than he is able to express. He may as well 
think to number the drops of rain, the sands of the sea 
or the days of eternity. 

5. His guilt is now also before his face : he knows 
the punishment he has deserved, were it only on account 
of his carnal mind, the entire, universal corruption of his 
nature: how much more, on account of all his evil de 
sires and thoughts, of all his sinful words and actions ■. 
lie cannot doubt for a moment, but the least, of these 
deserves the damnation of hell, — •• the worm that^ieth 
not, and the fire that never shall be quenched." Above 
all, the guilt of " not believing on the name of the only 
begotten Son of God" lies heavy upon him. How, 
•aith he, shall I escape, who " neglect so great salva- 
tion J" « He that believeth not is condemned already," 
ud "the wrath of God abideth on him." 

6. But what shall he give in exchange for his soul, 
thich is forfeited to the just vengeance of God ! 

Sit u 


" Wherewithal shall lie come before tlie Lo.d ?" How 
shall he pay him that he ovveth ? Were he from this 
moment to perform the most perfect obedience to ever) 
command of God, this would make no amends for a 
single sin, for any one act of past disobedience; seeing 
he owes God all the service he is able to perform, from 
this momeut to all eternity : could he pay this, it would 
make no manner of amends for what he ought to have 
done before. He sees himself, therefore, utterly help- 
less with regard to atoning for his past sins ; utterly 
unable to make any amends to God, to pay any ransom 
for his own soul. 

But if God would forgive him all that is past, on this 
one condition, that he should sin no more ; that for the 
time to come he should entirely and constantly obey all 
his commands ; he well kuows that this would profit 
him Lothing. being a condition he could never perform. 
He knows and feels that he is not able to obey even the 
outward commands of God ; seeing these cannot be 
obeyed while his heart remains in its natural sinfulness 
and corruption ; inasmuch as an evil tree cannot bring 
forth good fruit. But he cannot cleanse a sinful heart 
with men this is impossible : so that he is utterly at a 
loss even how to begin walking in the path of God'.- 
Lominandmeuts. He knows not how to get one step 
forward in the way. P]ncompassed with sin, and sorrow, 
uud fear, and finding no way to escape, he can only cry 
out, " Lord, save, or I perish 1" 

7. Poverty of spirit, then, as it implies the first step 
we take in running the race which is set before us, is a 
just sense of our inward and outward sins, and of oui 
guilt and helplessness. This some have monstrously 
styled " the virtue of humility," thus teaching us to be 
proud of knowing we deserve damnation ! But our 
Lord's expression is quite of another kind ; conveying 
ao idea to the hearer, but that of mere want, of naked 
he, of helpless guilt and misery. 

b. The great apostle, where he endeavours to bring 
aimers to God, speaks in a manner just answerable t# 


this. "The wrath of God," saith he, "is revealed 
from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteous- 
ness of men ;" (Rom. i. 18, &c. ;) a charge which he 
immediately fixes on the heathen world, and thereby 
' proves they were under the wrath of God. He ucxt 
shows that the Jews were no better than they, and were 
therefore under the same condemnation ; and all this, 
not in order to their attaining " the noble virtue of hu- 
mility," but " that every mouth might be stopped, and 
all the world become guilty before God." 

He proceeds to show, that they were helpless as well 
as guilty; which is the plain purport of all those ex- 
pressions : " Therefore by the deeds of the law thero 
Bhall no flesh be justified :" — " But now the righteous- 
ness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, without 
the law, is manifested :" — " We conclude, that a man is 
justified by faith, without the deeds of the law :" — ex- 
pressions all tending to the same point, even to " hide 
pride from man ;" to humble him to the dust, without 
teaching him to reflect upon his humility as a virtue : 
to inspire him with that full, piercing conviction of his 
utler sinfulness, guilt, and helplessness, which casts the 
siuner, stripped of all, lost and undone, on this strong 
Hfilper, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

9. One cannot but observe here, that Christianity 
begins just where heathen morality ends : poverty of 
spirit, conviction of sin, the renouncing ourselves, the 
uot having our own righteousness, (the very first point 
iu the religion of Jesus Christ,) leaving all pagan religion 
behind. This was ever hid from the wise men of this 
world ; insomuch that the whole Roman language, even 
with all the improvements of the Augustan age, does 
not afford so much as a name for humility ; (the word 
iVoui whence we borrow this, as is well known, bearing 
in Latin a quite different meaning;) no, nor was one 
found in all the copious language of Greece, till it was 
Bade by the great apostle. 

10. ! that we may feel what they were not able to 

apross ! Sinner, awake I Know thyself 1 Know tni 




feci, that thou wert " shapen in wickedness," and thai 
" in sin did thy mother conceive thee ;" and that thou 
thyself hast been heaping up sin upon sin, ever since' 
thou ccu'dest discern ,good from evil ! Sink under the 
mighty hand of God, as guilty of death eternal ; and 
east off, renounce, abhor, all imagination of ever being 
able to help thyself ! Be it all thy hope to be washed 
in his blood, and renewed by his almighty Spirit, who 
himself " bare all our sins in his own body on the tree !" 
80 shalt thou witness, " Happy are the poor in spirit : 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 

11. This is that kingdom of heaven, or of God, which 
is within us; even "righteousness, and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost." And what is "righteousness," 
but the life of God in the soul ; the mind which was in 
Christ Jesus ; the image of God stamped upon the heart, 
now renewed after the likeness of Him that created it '! 
What is it but the love of God, because he first loved 
us, and the love of all mankind for his sake 1 

And what is this " peace," the peace of God, but that 
calm serenity of soul, that sweet repose in the blood of 
Jesus, which leaves no doubt of our acceptance in him ; 
which excludes all fear, but the loving, filial fear of 
offending our Father which is in heaven ? 

This inward kingdom implies also "joy in the Holy 
Ghost;" who seals upon our hearts " the redemption 
which is in Jesus," the righteousness of Christ imputed 
to us " for the remission of the sins that are past;" who 
giveth us now " the earnest of our inheritance," of the 
crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give at 
that day. And well may this be termed " the kingdom 
jf heaven;" seeing it is heaven already opened in the 
soul ; the first springing up of those rivers of pleasure 
which flow at God's right hand for evermore. 

lli. "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Whosoevci 
thou nit, to whom God hath given to be "poor in spirit," 
so feci thyself lost, thou hast a right thereto, through tht 
gracious promise of Him who cannot lie It is pur- 
ohased for thee by the blood of the Lamb. It is verj 



nigh : thou art on the brink of heaven ! Another step, 
and thou enterest into the kingdom of righteousness, 
anil peace, and joy ! Art thou all sin ? " Behold the 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" 
—all unholy? See thy "Advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous !" Art thou unable to atone 
for the least of thy sins ? " He is the propitiation for" 
all thy " sins." Now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and all thy sins are blotted out 1 Art thou totally un- 
clean in soul and body ? Here is the " fountain for sin 
and uncleanness !" " Arise and wash away thy sins !" 
Stagger no more at the promise through unboliefJ 
Give glory to God ! Dare to believe ! Now cry oat, 
from the ground of thy heart, — 

"Tee, I yield, I yield, at last, 
Listen to thy speaking blood ; 
Me, with all my sins, I cast 
On my atoning God." 

13. Then thou learnest of him to be " lowly of 
heart." And this is the true, genuine, Christian hu- 
mility, which flows from a sense of the love of God, 
reconciled to us in Christ Jesus. Poverty of spirit, in 
this meaning of the word, begins where a sense of 
guilt and of the wrath of God ends ; and is a continual 
sense of our total dependence on him, for every good 
thought, or word, or work ; of our utter inability to all 
good, unless he " water us every moment ;" and an 
abhorrence of the praise of men, knowing that all praise 
is due unto God only. With this is joined a loving 
shame, a tender humiliation before God, even for the 
sins which we know he hath forgiven us, and for the 
sin which still remaineth in our hearts, although we 
know it is not imputed to our condemnation. Never- 
theless, the conviction we feel of inbred sin is deeper and 
leeper every day. The more we grow in grace, the more 
io we see of the desperate wickedness of our heart. The 
more we advance in the knowledge and love of God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ, (as great a mystery as 
law may appear to those who know not the power of 


God unto salvation,) the more do wo discern of our 
alienation from God, of the enmity that is in our carnal 
mind, and the necessity of our being entirely renewed 
in righteousness and true holiness. 

II. 1 . It is true, he has scarce any conception of tbip 
who now begins to know the inward kingdom of heaven. 
"In his prosperity he saith, I shall- never be moved; 
thou, Lord, hast made my hill so strong." Sin is so 
utterly bruised beneath his feet that he can scarce 
believe it remaineth in him. Even temptation is si- 
lenced, and speaks not again ; it cannot approach, but 
stands afar off. He is borne aloft in the chariots of joy 
and love: he soars, "as upon the wings of an eagle." 
But our Lord well knew that this triumphant state does 
not often continue long: he therefore presently subjoins, 
" Blessed are they that mourn ; for they shall be com- 

2. Not that we can imagine this promise belongs to 
those who mourn only on some worldly account ; who 
are in sorrow and heaviness merely on account of some 
worldly trouble or disappointment, — such as the loss of 
their reputation or friends, or the impairing of their for- 
tune. As little title to it have they who are afflicting 
themselves, through fear of some temporal evil; ot 
who pine away with anxious care, or that desire of 
earthly things which " maketh the heart sick." Let 
us not think these " shall receive any thing from the 
Lord :" he is not in all their thoughts. Therefore it is 
that they thus " walk in a vain shadow, and disquiet 
then.delvcs in vain." " And this shall ye have of mine 
baud," saith the Lord, " ye shall lie down in sorrow." 

3. The mourners of whom our Lord here speaks, are 
those that mourn on quite another account : they that 
mourn after God ; after Him in whom they did " rejoice 
with joy unspeakable," when he gave them to " taste 
the good," the pardoning " word, and the powers of che 
world to come." But he now " hides his face, and they 
wo troubled ;" they cannot see him through the dark 
aloud. But they see temptation and sin, which they 



fondly supposed were gone never to return, arising 
again, following after them amain, and holding them in 
on every side. It is not strange if their soul is now 
disquieted within them, and trouble and heaviness take 
hold upon them. Nor will their great enemy fail to 
improve the occasion ; to ask, " Where is now thy God 1 
Where is now the blessedness whereof thou spakestl 
the beginning of the kingdom of heaven ? Yea, hath 
Qod said, ' Thy sins are forgiven thee V Surely God 
hath not said it. It was only a dream, a mere delusion, 
a creature of thy own imagination. If thy sins are for- 
given, why art thou thus ? Can a pardoned sinner be 
thus unholy?" And if then, instead of immediately 
crying to God, they reason with him that is wiser than 
they, they will be in heaviness indeed, in sorrow of 
heart, in anguish not to be expressed. Nay, even whan 
God shines again upon the soul, and takes away all 
doubt of his past mercy, still he that is weak in faith 
may be tempted and troubled on account of what is to 
come ; especially when inward sin revives, and thrust? 
sore at him that he may fall. Then may he again cry 

" I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun 
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore !" — 

lest I should make shipwreck of the faith, and my last 
state be worse than the first j — 

" Lest all my bread of life should fail, 
And I sink down unchanged to hell !" 

4. Sure it is, that this "affliction," for the present 
"is not joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it 
bringeth forth peaceable fruit unto them that are exer- 
eised thereby." Blessed, therefore, are they that thus 
mourn, if they " tarry the Lord's leisure," and suffer 
not themselves to be turned out of the way, by the 
miserable comforters of the world ; if they resolutely 
reject all the comforts of sin, of folly, and vanity ; all 
the idle diversions and amusements of the world ; all 
•be pleasures which " peris i in the using," and which 


only tend to benumb and stupify the soul, that ii um\ 
neither be sensible of itself nor God. Blessed are they 
who " follow on to know the Lord," and steadily refusn 
all other comfort. They shall be comforted by the con- 
solations of his Spirit ; by a fresh manifestation of his 
love ; by such a witness of his accepting them in tbr 
Beloved, as shall never more be taken away from them 
This " full assurance of faith" swallows up all doubt, 
as well as all tormenting fear; God now giving them a 
sure hope of an enduring substance, and " strong con- 
solation through grace." Without disputing whether 
it be possible for any of those to "fall away, who 
were once enlightened and made partakers of the Holy 
Ghost," it suffices them to say, by the power now rest- 
ing upon them, " Who shall separate us from the love 
of Christ? I am persuaded, that neither death, nor 
life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, 
nor depth, shall be able to separate us from the love of 
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. viii 

5. This whole process, both of mourning for an ab- 
sent God, and recovering the joy of his countenance, 
seems to be shadowed out in what our Lord spoke to 
his apostles, the night before his passion : "Do ye in- 
quire of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me : 
and again, a little while and ye shall see me ? Verily, 
verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament;" 
namely, when ye do not see me ; " but the world shall 
rejoice ;" shall triumph over you, as though your hope 
were now come to an end. "And ye shall be sorrow- 
ful," through doubt, through fear, through temptation, 
through vehement desire; "but your sorrow shall be 
turned into joy," by the return of Him whom your soul 
loveth. " A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow 
because her hour is come : but as soon as she is delivered 
of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for 
joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now 
have sorrow;" ye mourn and cannot be comforted: 
14 but I will see y>u again ; and your heart ahull rejoioa,' 


with calm, inward joy, " and your joj no man taketk 
from you." (John xvi. 19-22.) 

6. But although this mourning is at an end, is lost 
in holy joy, by the return of the Comforter, yet is there 
another, and a blessed mourning it is, which abides in 
the children of God. They still mourn for the sins 
and miseries of mankind : they " weep with them thai 
weep." They weep for them that weep not for them- 
selves, for the sinners against their own souls. They 
mourn for the weakness and unfaithfulness of those that 
are, in some measure, saved from their sins. " Who is 
weak, and they are not weak ? Who is offended, and 
they burn not ?" They are grieved for the dishonour 
continually done to the Majesty of heaven and earth. 
At all times they have an awful sense of this, which 
brings a deep seriousness upon their spirit ; a serious- 
ness which is not a little increased, since the eyes of 
their understanding were opened, by their continually 
seeing the vast ocean of eternity, without a bottom or a 
shore, which has already swallowed up millions of mil- 
lions of men, and is gaping to devour them that yet 
remain. They see here the house of God eternal in the 
heavens ; there, hell and destruction without a covering ; 
and thence feel the importance of every moment, which 
just appears, and is gone for ever ! 

7. But all this wisdom of God is foolishness with the 
world. The whole affair of mourning and poverty of 
spirit is with them stupidity and dulness. Nay, it is 
well if they pass so favourable a judgment upon it ; if 
they do not vote it to be mere moping and melancholy, 
if not downright lunacy and distraction. And it is no 
wender at all, that this judgment should be passed by 
those who know not God. Suppose, as two persons 
were walking together, one should suddenly stop, and, 
with the strongest signs of fear and amazement, a y 
■>ut, " On what a precipice do we stand ! See, we are 
on the point of being dashed in pieces ! Another step, 
and we fall into that huge abyss ! Stop 1 I will not 
go on for all the world !" — when the other, who seemed, 

L-2C v 


Ques. 25. (II. 2.) Is this promise to those who mourn on 
any worldly account? 

Ques. 26. (II. 3.) What is said of the mourners of whom 
our Lord speaks ? 

Ques. 27. (II. 4.) What is said of present affliction? 

Ques. 28. (II. 5.) What is shadowed out in our Lorf" 
words to the apostles the night before his crucifixion? 

Ques. 29. (II. 6.) What is the blessed mourning? 

Ques. 30. (II. 7.) What is all this to the world? 

Ques. 31. (II. 8.) What encouragement is here givt 


I. The spring-time of the soul. The winter is past, ano 
he that comforteth the mourners is come. In the bright- 
ness of his presence the clouds disperse. 

II. The meek. Not those who grieve at nothing; not 
those who are sheltered from the shocks of life by stupid 
insensibility. Nor does meekness imply being without zea 1 
for God. Keeping clear of every extreme, it holds an even 
scale with regard to anger, sorrow, and fear. It relates to 
ourselves, and may be referred to either God or our neigh- 
bor. It is sometimes resignation and sometimes patience or 
contentment. Mildness to the good, gentleness to the evil. 
The meek clearly discern what is evil, and suffer it. Abid- 
ing, increasing, it restrains the outward act and the inward 
feeling. Anger and its consequences. When allowed. 
Never toward our brother. Exhortation to meekness. Their 
reward who possess it. 

III. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The 
word defined. All holy and heavenly tempers in one. 
Hunger and thirst the strongest of all bodily appetites. So 
also the hunger and thirst of the soul are the strongest of all 
our spiritual appetites. Those appetites of the soul must be 
gratified when once awakened. This satisfaction can never 
be found in what the world calls religion. These appe- 
tites can only be satisfied with the knowledge of God in 
Christ Jesus. The blessedness of this hungering; it has the 
certain promise of satisfaction. The desire of the heart 
shall be granted: "They shall be filled." 

29 BB VOL. I. < 449) 


Ques. 25. (II. 2.) Is this promise to those who mourn on 
any worldly account? 

Ques. 26. (II. 3.) What is said of the mourners of whom 
our Lord speaks ? 

Ques. 27. (II. 4.) What is said of present affliction? 

Ques. 28. (II. 5.) What is shadowed out in our Lor 1 :' 
yords to the apostles the night before his crucifixion? 

Ques. 29. (II. 6.) What is the blessed mourning? 

Ques. 30. (II. 7.) What is all this to the world? 

Ques. 31. (II. 8.) What encouragement is here givr 


I. The spring-time of the soul. The winter is past, ano. 
he that comforteth the mourners is come. In the bright- 
ness of his presence the clouds disperse. 

II. The meek. Not those who grieve at nothing; not 
those who are sheltered from the shocks of life by stupid 
insensibility. Nor does meekness imply being without zea> 
for God. Keeping clear of every extreme, it holds an even 
scale with regard to anger, sorrow, and fear. It relates to 
ourselves, and may be referred to either God or our neigh- 
bor. It is sometimes resignation and sometimes patience or 
contentment. Mildness to the good, gentleness to the evil. 
The meek clearly discern what is evil, and suffer it. Abid- 
ing, increasing, it restrains the outward act and the inward 
feeling. Anger and its consequences. When allowed. 
Never toward our brother. Exhortation to meekness. Their 
reward who possess it. 

III. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The 
word defined. All holy and heavenly tempers in one. 
Hunger and thirst the strongest of all bodily appetites. So 
also the hunger and thirst of the soul are the strongest of all 
our spiritual appetites. These appetites of the soul must be 
gratified when once awakened. This satisfaction can never 
be found in what the world calls religion. These appe- 
tites can only be satisfied with the knowledge of God in 
Christ Jesus. The blessedness of this hungering; it has the 
certain promise of satisfaction. The desire of the heart 
shall be granted: "They shall be filled." 

29 BB vol.1. (449) 


IV The merciful. Tenderness for others follows in those 
who are filled with the life of God. This concern for oth- 
ers shall have its reward. The word used by our Lord im- 
plies the compassionate, the tender-hearted. The word 
" merciful " is used as a synonym for those who love their 
neighbors as themselves. Importance of this love; without 
it we are nothing Charity, or love — as the word literally 
ought to be translated — described. It suffers long, and is 
kind. It envieth not. Vaunteth not itself. Is not puffed 
u>). Does not behave unseemly. Seeks not her own. Is 
not provoked. "Easily" not in the Greek text. St. Paul's 
words are absolute. Why the word " easily " was inserted. 
Love thinketh no evil. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but in 
ihe truth; covereth all things; believeth all things; hopeth 
all things ; endureth all things. The complete character of 
him that is merciful. 

V- The application. 




' Bkiied are the meek : for they thall inherit the earth. 
'Blessed are they which do hung-r and thirst after righteoutnw 

for they shall be filled. 
" Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy." — Matt 


1. 1. When "the winter is past," when "the time of 
singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard 
in the land ;" when He that comforts the mourners is 
now returned, " that lit' may abide with them for ever;" 
when, at the brightness of his presence, the clouds dis- 
perse, the dark clouds of doubt and uncertainty, the 
storms of fear flee away, the waves of sorrow subside, 
and their spirit again rejoiceth in God their Saviour; 
then is it that this word is eminently fulfilled ; then 
those whom he hath comforted can bear witness, " Bless- 
ed," or happy, " are the meek ; for they shall inherit 
the earth." 

2. But who are " the meek ?" Not those who grieve 
at nothing, because they know nothing ; who are not 
discomposed at the evils that occur, because they dis- 
oern not evil from good. Not those who are sheltered 
from the shocks of life, from a stupid insensibility ; who 
have, either by nature or art, the virtue of stocks and 
Jtones, and resent nothing, because they feel nothing. 
Brute philosophers are wholly unconcerned in this 
natter Apathy is as far from meekness as from ho- 


inanity. So that one would not easily conceive ho» 
any Christians of the purer ages, especially any of ike 
Fathers of the Church, could confound these, and mis- 
take one of the foulest errors of heathenism for a branch 
of true Christianity. 

3 Nor does Christian meekness imply, the being 
without zeal for God, any more than it does ignorance 
or insensibility. No ; it keeps clear of every extreme, 
whether in excess or defect. It does not destroy, but 
balance the affections, which the God of nature never 
designed should be rooted out by grace, but only brought 
and kept under due regulations. It poises the mind 
aright. It holds an even scale, with regard to anger, 
and sorrow, and fear; preserving the mean in every cir- 
cumstance of life, and not declining either to the right 
hand or the left. 

4. Meekness, therefore, seems properly to relate to 
ourselves : but it may be referred either to God or our 
neighbour. When this due composure of mind has 
reference to God, it is usually termed "resignation;" 
a calm acquiescence in whatsoever is his will concerning 
us, even though it may not be pleasing to nature; say- 
ing continually, "It is the Lord ; let him do what 
seemcth him good." When we consider it more strictly 
with regard to ourselves, we style it " patience" or 
•' contentedness." When it is exerted toward other 
men, then it is " mildness" to the good, and " gentle- 
ness" to the evil. 

5. They who are truly meek can clearly discern what 
is evil ; and they can also suffer it. They are sensible 
of every thing of this kind, but still meekness holds the 
reins. They are exceeding " zealous for the Lord of 
hosts ;" but their zeal is always guided by knowledge, 
and tempered, in every thought, and word, and work, 
with the love of man, a.-, well as the love of God. They 
do not desire to extinguish any of the passions which 
God has for wise ends implanted in their nature; but 
they have the mastery of all : they hold them all in sub- 
jection, and employ them only in subservience to thaw 


ends. And thus even the harsher and more unpleasin^ 

CBsions are applicable to the noblest purposes; even 
trcd, and anger, and fear, when engaged against bin, 
and regulated by faith and love, are as walls and bul- 
warks to the soul, so that the wicked one cannot ap- 
proach to hurt it. 

6. It is evident, this divine temper is not only tc 
abide, but to increase in us day by day. Occasions of 
exercising, and thereby increasing it, will never be 
wanting, while we remain upon earth. " We have need 
of patience, that after we have done" and suffered " the 
will of God, we may receive the promise." We have need 
of resignation, that we may in all circumstances say, 
"Not as I will, but as thou wilt." And we have need 
of "gentleness toward all men ;" but especially toward 
the evil and unthankful : otherwise we shall be over 
conic of evil, instead of overcoming evil with good. 

7. Nor does meekness restrain only the outward act, 
an the scribes and Pharisees taught of old, and the 
miserable teachers who are not taught of God will not 
fail to do in all ages. Our Lord guards against this, 
and shows the true extent of it, in the following words : 
" Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, 
Thou shalt not kill ; and whosoever shall kill shall be 
iu danger of the judgment :" (Matt. v. 21, &c. :) " ]5ut 1 
say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother 
without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment : 
and whosoever shall say to his brother, Kaca, shall be in 
danger of the council : but whosoever shall say, Thou 
fool, shall be in danger of hell-tire." 

8. Our Lord here ranks under the head of murder, 
even that anger which goes no farther than the heart ; 
which does not show itself by any outward unkindness, 
no, not so much as a passionate word. "Whosoever is 
angry with his brother," with any man living, seeing we 
are all brethren ; whosoever feels any unkindness in hiH 
heart, any temper contrary to love ; whosoever is angry 
"without a cause," without a sufficient cause, or farthei 
than that cause requires, "shall be in danger of th» 

• ao2 


judgment;" «vo*o$ t atai ; >/mz#, in that moment, be ob 
noxious to the righteous judgment of God. 

But would not one be inclined to prefer the reading 
of those copies which omit the word nxrj, urithout a 
cmise f Is it not entirely superfluous ? For if anger ai 
persons be a temper contrary to love, how can there be 
a cause, a sufficient cause, for it, — any that will juBtify 
it in the sight of God ? 

Anger at sin we allow. In this sense we may be 
angry, and yet we sin not. In this sense our Lord him- 
self is once recorded to have been angry : " He looked 
round about upon them with anger, being grieved for 
the hardness of their hearts." He was grieved at the 
sinners, and angry at the sin. And this is undoubtedly 
right before God. 

9. " And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca;" 
— whosoever shall give way to anger, so ;is to utter any 
contemptuous word. It is observed by commentators, 
that Ilaca is a Syriac word, which properly signifies, 
empty, vain, foolish ; so that it is as inoffensive an ex- 
pression as can well be used, toward one at whom we 
are displeased. And yet, whosoever shall use this, as 
our Lord assures us, " shall be in danger of the coun- 
cil ;" rather, shall be obnoxious thereto : ho 'hall be 
liable to a severer sentence from the Judge of all the 

" But whosoever shall say, Thou fool;" — whosoever 
shall so give place to the devil, as to break out into 
reviling, into designedly reproachful and contumelious 
language, "shall be obnoxious to hell-fire;" s ball, in 
that instant, be liable to the highest condemnation. It 
should be observed, that our Lord describes all these as 
obnoxious to capital punishment. The first, to stran- 
gling, usually inflicted on those who were condemned in 
one of the inferior courts; the second to stoning, which 
was frequently inflicted on those who were condemned 
by the great council at Jerusalem ; the third, to burn- 
ing alive, inflicted only on the highest offenders, in 
"he " valley of the sons of Hinnom ;" I> E»u», from 


which that w^rd is evidently taken which we translate 


10. And whereas men naturally imagine, that God 
will excuse their defect in some duties, for their exact- 
ness in others ; our Lord next takes care to cut off that 
vain though common imagination. He shows that it is 
impossible for any sinner to commute with God ; who 
wiU not accept one duty for another, nor take a part of 
jbedience for the whole. He warns us, that the per- 
forming our duty to God will not excuse us from our 
duty to our neighbour ; that works of piety, as they are 
called, will be so far from commending us to God, if we 
are wanting in charity, that, on the contrary, that want 
of charity will make all those works an abomination to 
the Lord. 

"Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and 
there remembercst that thy brother hath aught against 
thee," — on account of thy unkind behaviour toward 
him, of thy calling him " Raca," or, " Thou fool ;" think 
not that thy gift will atone for thy anger; or that it will 
find any acceptance with God so long as thy conscience 
is defiled with the guilt of unrcpented sin. " Leave 
there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be 
reconciled to thy brother," (at least do all that in thee 
lies toward being reconciled,) ■' and then come and offci 
thy gift." (Matt. v. 23, 24.) 

11. And let there be no delay in what so nearly con 
cerneth thy soul. " Agree with thine adversary quickly ; ' ' 
—now; upon the spot; "whiles thou art in the way 
with him ;" if it be possible, before he go out of thy 
right; "lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to 
the judge;" lest he appeal to God the Judge of all; 
"and the judge deliver thee to the officer," to Satan, 
the executioner of the wrath of God; "and thou be 
east into prison," into hell, there to be reserved to 
the judgment of the great day. " Verily, I say unto 
thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou 
bast paid the uttermost farthing." But this it is im- 
possible for thee ever to do ; seeing thou hast nott ing 


to pay Therefore, if thou art once in that prison, the 
smoke of thy torment must " ascend up for ever and 

12. Meantime, "the meek shall inherit the earth " 
Such is the foolishness of worldly wisdom 1 The wise 
of the world had warned them again and again, — that if 
they did not resent such treatment, if they would tamely 
suffer themselves to be thus abused, there would be no 
living for them upon earth ; that they would never be 
able to procure the common necessaries of life, nor to 
keep even what they had ; that they could expect uo 
peace, qo quiet possession, no enjoyment of any thing 
Most true, — suppose there were no God in the world ; 
or suppose he did not concern himself with the children 
of men : but, " when God ariseth to judgment, and to 
help all the meek upon earth," how doth he laugh all 
this heathen wisdom to scorn, and turn the " fierceness 
of man to his praise !" He takes a peculiar care to pro- 
vide them with all things needful for life and godliness ; 
he secures to them the provision he hath made, in spite 
of the force, fraud, or malice of men ; and what he 
secures he gives them richly to enjoy. It i9 sweet to 
them, be it little or much. As in patience they pos- 
sess their souls, so they truly possess whatever God hath 
given them. They are always content, always pleased 
with what they have : it pleases them because it pleases 
God : so that while their heart, their desire, their joy 
is in hcaveu, they may truly be said to " inherit th< 

13 But there seems to be a yet further meaning h. 
these words, even that they shall have a more eminen- 
part in " tbe new earth, wherein dwellcth righteous 
ness;" in that inheritance, a general de>cnptiou of whicL 
(and the particulars we shall know hereafter) St. John 
hath given in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation: 
" And I saw an angel come down from heaven, — and he 
laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, — and bound 
him a thousaud years. — And I saw the souls if them thai 
«rere beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the ▼ord 


of God, and of them which had not worshipped the 
beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark 
upon their foreheads, or in their hands : and they lived 
and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest 
of the dead lived not again, until the thousand years 
were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed 
ind holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection • 
on such the second death hath no power, but they shall 
be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with 
him a thousand years." 

II. 1. Our Lord has hitherto been more immediately 
employed in removing the hinderances of true religion : 
such is pride, the first grand hindcrance of all religion, 
which is taken away by poverty of spirit ; levity and 
"thoughtlessness, which prevent any religion from taking 
loot in the soul, till they are removed by holy mourn- 
ing: such are anger, impatience, discontent, which are 
all healed by Christian meekness. And when once 
these hinderances are removed, these evil diseases of the 
soul, which were continually raising false cravings 
therein, and filling it with sickly appetites, the native 
appetite of a heaven-born spirit returns ; it hungers and 
thirsts after righteousness : and " blessed are they which 
do hunger and thirst after righteousness ; for they shall 
be filled." 

2. Righteousness, as was observed before, is the 
•mage of God, the mind which was in Christ Jesu». It 
is every holy and heavenly temper in one ; springing 
from, as well as terminating in, the love of God, as our 
Father and Redeemer and the love of all men for his sake. 

3. "Blessed are they Which do hunger and thirst 
after" this: in order fully to understand which expres- 
sion, we should observe, first, that hunger and thirst are 
the strongest of all our bodily appetites. In like man- 
ner, this hunger in the soul, this thirst after the image 
of Qod, is the strongest of all our spiritual appetites, 
when it is once awakened in the heart ; yea, it swallows 
ap all the rest in that one great desire, — to be renewed 
ifter the likeness of Him that created us. We shou'd. 


secondly, observe, that from the time we begin to hun 
ger and thirst, those appetites do not cease, but are 
more and more craving and importunate, till we either 
eat and drink, or die. And even so, from the time that 
we begin to hunger and thirst after the whole mind 
which was in Christ, these spiritual appetites do not 
cease, but cry after their food with more and more im- 
portunity ; nor can they possibly cease, before they am 
satisfied, while there is any spiritual life remaining. We 
may, thirdly, observe, that hunger and thirst are satis- 
fied with nothing but meat and drink. If you would 
give to him that is hungry all the world beside, all the 
elegance of apparel, all the trappings of state, all the trea- 
sure upon earth, yea, thousands of gold and silver; if 
you would pay him ever so much honour ; — he regards 
it not : all these things are then of no account with 
him. He would still say, " These are not the things 1 
want : give me food, or else I die." The very same is 
the case with every soul that truly hungers and thirsts 
after righteousness. He can find no comfort in any 
thing but this : he can be satisfied with nothing else 
Whatever you offer besides, it is lightly esteemed : 
whether it be riches, or honour, or pleasure, he still 
says, "This is not the thing which I want! Give me 
love, or else I die !" 

4. And it is as impossible to satisfy sucli a soul, :i 
soul that is athirst for God, the living God, with what 
the world accounts religion, as with what they account 
happiness. The religion of the world implies three 
things: (1.) The doing no harm, the abstaining from 
outward sin ; at least from such as is scandalous, as 
robbery, theft, common swearing, drunkenness : (2.) 
The doing good, the relieving the poor ; the being 
charitable, as it is called : (3.) The using the means of 
grace ; at least the going to church and to the Lord's 
supper. He in whom these three marks are found is 
termed by the world "a religious man." But will this 
satisfy him who hungers after God ? No : it is not food 
for his soul. He wants a religion of a nobler kind, • 


religion higher and deeper than this. Fie can no more 
feed on this poor, shallow, formal thing, than he can 
"fill his belly with the east wind." True, he is carefu! 
to abstain from the very appearance of evil ; he is zeal- 
ous of good works; he attends all the ordinances of 
God: but all this is not what he longs for. This is 
only the outside of that religion which he insatiably hun- 
gers after. The knowledge of God in Christ Jesus ; 
'the life which is hid with Christ in God;" the being 
"joined unto the Lord in one spirit;" the having " fel- 
lowship with the Father and the Son ;" the " walking 
in the light as God is in the light;" the being "puri- 
fied even as he is pure;" — this is the religion, the right- 
eousness he thirsts after ; nor can he rest, till he thus 
rests in God. 

5. "Blessed are they who" thus " hunger and thirst 
after righteousness ; for they shall be filled." They shall 
be filled with the things which they long for; even with 
righteousness and true holiness. God shall satisfy thorn 
with the blessings of his goodness, with the felicity of 
his chosen. He shall feed them with the bread of 
heaven, with the manna of his love. He shall give 
them to drink of his pleasures as out of the river, which 
he that drinketh of shall never thirst, only for more ana 
more of the water of life. This thirst shall endure foi 

"The painful thirst, the fond desire, 
Thy joyous presence shall remove : 
But my full soul shall still require 
A whole eternity of love." 

6. Whosoever then thou art, to whom God hath given 
to " hunger and thirst after righteousness," cry unto 
him that thou mayest never lose that inestimable gift, — 
that this divine appetite may never cease If many 
rebuke thee, and bid thee hold thy peace, regard them 
"ot; yea, cry so much the more, "Jesus, Master, have 
men-- on me !" " Let me not live, but to be holy a* 
thou art holy !" No more " spend thy money for thai 
»hioh is not bread, nor thy labour for that which 



satisficth not." Canst thou bope to dig happiness oni 
of the earth, — to find it in the things of the world '/ Oh, 
trample under foot all its pleasures, despise its honours, 
count its riches as dung and dross, — yea, and all the 
things which are beneath the sun, — " for the excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus," for the entire 
renewal of thy soul in that image of God wherein it 
was originally created. Beware of quenching that 
blessed hunger and thirst by what the world calls 
"religion;" a religion of form, of outside «how, which 
leaves the heart as earthly and sensual as ever. Lei 
nothing satisfy thee but the power of godliness, but a 
religion that is spirit and life ; thy dwelling in God, and 
God in thee, — the being an inhabitant of eternity ; the 
entering in by the blood of sprinkling " within the veil," 
and sitting " in heavenly places with Christ Jesus." 

III. 1. And the more they are filled with the life of 
God, the more tenderly will they be concerned for those 
who are still without God in the world, still dead in tres- 
passes and sins. Nor shall this concern for others lose 
its reward. " Blessed are the merciful : for thev shall 
obtain mercy." 

The word used by our Lord more immediately ini 
plies the compassionate, the tender-hearted ; those who 
far from despising, earnestly grieve for, those that d 
not hunger after God 

This eminent part of brotherly love is here, by t 
common figure, put for the whole ; so that " the merci- 
ful," in the full sense of the term, are they who love 
their neighbours as themselves. 

'2. Because of the vast importance of this love,— 
without which, "though we spake with the tongues o! 
men and angels, though we had the gift of prophecy, 
and understood all mysteries, and all knowledge; though 
we had all faith so as to remove mountains ; yea, though 
#e gave all our goods to feed the poor, and our very 
bodies to be burned, it would profit us nothing," — the 
wisdom of < Jod has given us, by the apostle Paul, a full 
rod particular account of it ; by considering which w» 


ihall most clearly discern who are the merciful that shall 
ibtain mercy. 

3. "Charity," or love, (as it were to be wished it 
had been rendered throughout, being a far plainer and 
less ambiguous word,) the love of our neighbour ai 
Christ hath loved us, " suffereth long ;" is patient to 
ward all men : it suffers all the weakness, ignorance, 
errors, infirmities, all the frowardness and littleness of 
faith, of the children of G-od ; all the malice and wick- 
edness of the children of the world. And it suffers all 
this, not only for a time, for a short season, but to the 
end ; still feeding our enemy when he hungers ; if he 
thirst, still giving him drink; thus continually "heap- 
ing coals of fire," of melting love, " upon his head." 

4. And in every step toward this desirable cud, tho 
" overcoming evil with good," " love is kind :" (^nr**- 
itat, a word not easily translated :) it is soft, mild, benign. 
It stands at the utmost distance from moroseness, from 
all harshness or sourness of spirit ; and inspires the suf- 
ferer at once with the most amiable sweetness, and the 
most fervent and tender affection. 

5. Consequently, " love envieth not :" it is impossible 
it should ; it is directly opposite to that baneful temper. 
It cannot be, that he who has this tender affection to all, 
who earnestly wishes all temporal and spiritual blessings, 
all good things in this world and the world to come, to 
every soul that God hath made, should be pained at his 
bestowing any good gift on any child of man. If he 
has himself received the same, he does not grieve, but 
rejoice that another partakes of the common benefit. If 
he has not, he blesses God tha» his brother at least has, 
and is herein happier than himself. And the greater 
his love, the more does he rejoice in the blessings cf al! 
mankind ; the farther is he removed from every kind 
and degree of envy toward any creature. 

6. Love w Tttpftcpcvttat, — not " vaunteth not itself;" 
which coincides with the very next words ; but rather, 
jis the word likewise properly imports,) is not rath 01 
\'.utjf in judging : it will not hastily condemn any one 

12 l— id 


It does not pass a severe sentence, on a slight or mil 
don view of things : it first weighs all the evidence, par- 
ticularly that which is brought in favour of the accused 
A true lover of his neighbour is not like the generality 
of men, who, even in cases of the nicest nature, " see a 
lit tie, presume a great deal, and so jump to the conclu- 
sion." No : he proceeds with wariness and circumspec- 
tion, taking heed to every step ; willingly subscribing to 
that rule of the ancient heathen, (oh, where will the 
modern Christian appear !) " I am so far from lightly 
believing what one man says against another, that I will 
not easily believe what a man says against himself. I 
will always allow him second thoughts, and many time* 
counsel too." 

7 It follows, "love is not puffed up;" it does not 
incline or suffer any man " to think more highly of him- 
self than he ought to think ;" but rather to think 
soberly : yea, it humbles the soul unto the dust. It 
destroys all high conceits, engendering pride ; and makes 
us rejoice to be as nothing, to be little and vile, the 
lowest of all, the servant of all. They who are " kindly 
affectioned one to another with brotherly love" cannot 
but " in honour prefer one another." Those who, hav- 
ing the same love, are of one accord, do in lowliness of 
mind " each esteem other better than themselves." 

X. " It doth not behave itself unseemly ;" it is not 
rude, or willingly offensive, to any. It " renders to all 
their due ; fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour;'* 
courtesy, civility, humanity to all the world; in their 
several degrees, " honouring all men." A late writer 
defines good breeding, nay, the highest degree of it, 
politeness, " A continual desire to please, appearing in 
all the behaviour." But if so, there is none so well- 
bred as a Christian, a lover of all mankind. For he 
sannot but desire to " please all men for their good to 
edification :" and this desire cannot be hid; ir will ne- 
cessarily appear in all his intercourse with men. For 
his " love is without dissimulation :" it will appear in all 
hi* actions and conversation : yea, and will constrain 



him, though without guile, " to become aft things to ali 
men, if by any means he may save some." 

9. And in becoming all things to all men, " love 
geeketh not her own." In striving to please all men, 
the lover of mankind has no eye at all to his own tern 
poral advantage. He covets no man's silver, or gold, 
or apparel : he dei ires nothing but the salvation of theii 
bouIs : yea, in some sense, he may be said, not to seek 
hii own spiritual, any more than temporal, advantage ; 
for while he is on the full stretch to save their souls 
from death, he, as it were, forgets himself. He does not 
think of himself, so long as that zeal for the glory of 
God swallows him up. Nay, at some times he mav 
almost seem, through an excess of love, to give up him 
self, both his soul and hid body; while he cries out, 
with Moses, " Oh, this people have sinned a great sin ; 
yet now, if thou wilt foigive their sin ; — and if not, 
blot me out of the book which thou hast written ;" 
(Ex. xxxii. 31, 32 ;) — or, with St. Paul, " I could wish 
that myself were accursod from Christ, for my brethren, 
my kinsmen according to the flesh." (Rom. ix. 3.) 

10. No marvel that such " love is not provoked :" 
mi ttapol-vvetai. Let it be observed, the word easily, 
strangely inserted in the translation, is not in the ori- 
ginal. St. Paul's words are absolute : " Love is not 
provoked;" it is not provoked to unkindness toward 
any one. Occasions indeed will frequently occur; 
outward provocations of various kinds; but love doei* 
not yield to provocation ; it triumphs over all. In al) 
trials it looketh unto Jesus, and is more than conqueror 
in his love. • 

It is not improbable that our translators inserted that 
word, as it were, to excuse the apostle ; who, a:j they 
supposed, might otherwise appear to be wanting in the 
very love which he so beautifully describes. They 
seem to have supposed this from a phrase in the Aol« 
of the Apostles, which is likewise very inaccurately 
translated. When Paul and Barnabas disagreed eon- 
seining John, the translation runs thus, •' And the oo» 

Ij rum 
...... j 


464 8ERMON ON TUE MOUNT. [SER.JLXn ilffl] 

tention was so snarp between them, that they departed ifi""" 
asunder." (Acts xv. 39.) This naturally induces the j« 
reader to suppose that they were equally sharp therein; 
that St. Paul, who was undoubtedly right, with regard *■ 
to the point in question, (it being quite improper to take s,A 
Jjhn with them again, who had deserted them before,) 
was as much provoked as Barnabas, who gave such a -iionj 
proof of his anger, as to leave the work for which he j»lt« 
had been set apart by the Holy Ghost. But the original [into afl 
imports no such thing; nor docs it affirm that St. Paul janitor 
was provoked at all. It simply says, v.ytn to «,■»■ *apo|v«- jrttl 
poj, — " And there was a sharpness," a pnmxysm of *jVith*in 
anger; in consequence of which Barnabas left St. Paul, )«i 
took John, and went his own way. Paul then "choio -ifciq 
Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren t (mi 
to the grace of God;" (which is not said concerning ^i 
Barnabas :) " and he went through Syria and Cilicia," .y vera 
as he had proposed, " confirming the churches." Rut a |,, t 
to return. 

11. Love prevents a thousand provocations which 
would otherwise arise, because it "thiuketh no evil." 
Indeed the merciful man cannot avoid knowing many 
things that are evil; he cannot but see them with his 
own eyes, and hear them with his own ears. For love 
docs not put out his eyes, so that it is impossible for 
him not to see that such things are done; neither does 
it take away his understanding any more than his 
senses, so that he cannot but know that they arc evil. 
For instance : when he sees a man strike his neigh- 
bour, or hears him blaspheme God, he cannot either 
question the thing done, or the words spoken, or doubt 
of their being evil : yet, ov Jtoyiftfot to xaxov. The 
word T.oytCeta.1, " thinketh," does not refer cither to out 
sceirg and hearing, or to the first and involuntary acts »f 
our understanding ; but to our will ingly thinking w hat " i ™i 
we need not; our inferring evil, where it docs not ap , ™ 
pjar; to our reasoning concerning things which we dc ',f'* 
not see ; our supposing what we have neither seen noi ' •< 
kteard. This is what true love absolutely destroys. Il 1; ; « 

u ttkn 




rl truth a: 



,rs up, root and branch, all imagining what we have 
; known. It casts out all jealousies, all evil sunn is 
p, all readiness to believe evil. It is frank, open, 
auspicious ; and, as it cannot design, so neither doe* 
fear, evil. 

12. It "rcjoiccth not in iniquity;'' common as this 
even among those who bear the name of Christ, who 
uple not to rejoice over their enemy, when he falleth 
her into affliction, or error, or sin. Indeed, how 
rdly can they avoid this, who are zealously attached 
any party ! How difficult is it for them not to be 
lased with *iny fault which they discover in those of 
s opposite party, — with any real or supposed blemish, 
her in their principles or practice ! What warm de- 
ider of any cause is clear of these ? Yea, who is so 
m as to be altogether free ? Who does not rejoice 
en his adversary makes a false step, which he thinks 
[1 advantage his own cause ? Only a man of love. 
! alone weeps over cither the sin or folly of his 
jmy, takes no pleasure in hearing or in repeating it, 
t rather desires that it may be forgotten for ever. 

13. But he " rejoiceth in the truth," wheresoever it 
found ; in " the truth which is after godliness :" 
nging forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart, and 
lincss of conversation. He rejoices to find that even 
)se who oppose him, whether with regard to opinions, 

some points of practice, are nevertheless lovers of 
id, and in other respects unreprovable. He is glad 
hear good of them, and to speak all he can consist- 
tly with truth and justice. Indeed, good in general 
his glory and joy wherever diffused throughout the 
;c of mankind. As a citizen of the world, he claims a 
ire in the happiness of all the inhabitants of it. Be- 
ise he is a man, he is not unconcerned in the welfare 

any man ; but enjoys whatsoever brings glory tc 
►i, and promotes peace and good-will among men. 

14. This " love covereth all things :" (so, without all 
ttbt, rtwvta artvf i should be translated ; for otherwise 
would be the very same with navta vitofiivfi., " en 

M 30 VOL. I. 2 d 2 CC 


durcth all things:") because the merciful mau rejoicett 
not in iniquity, neither does he willingly make mention 
of it. Whatever evil he sees, hears or knows, he 
nevertheless conceals, so far as he can without making 
himself " partaker of other men's sins." Wheresoevei 
or with whomsoever he is, if he sees any thing which he 
approves not, it goes not out of his lips, unless to the 
person concerned, if haply he may gain his brother. 80 
tar is he from making the faults or failings of others the 
matter of his conversation, that of the absent he never 
does speak at all, unless he can speak well. A tale- 
bearer, a backbiter, a whisperer, an evil-speaker, is to 
him all one as a murderer. He would just as soon cut 
his neighbour's throat, as thus murder his reputation. 
Just as soon would he think of diverting himself by set- 
ting fire to his neighbour's house, as of thus "scattering 
abroad arrows, firebrands, and death," and saying, 
" Am I not in sport ?" 

He makes one only exception. Sometimes he is con- 
vinced that it is for the glory of God, or (which comes 
to the same) the good of his neighbour, that an evil 
should not be covered. In this case, for the benefit of 
the innocent, he is constrained to declare the guilty. 
But even here, (1.) He will not speak at all, till love, 
superior love, constrains him. (2.) He cannot do it from 
a general confused view of doing good, or promoting the 
glory of God, but from a clear sight of some particulai 
end, some determinate good, which he pursues. (3.) Still 
he cannot speak, unless he be fully convinced that 
this very means is necessary to that end ; that the end 
cannot be answered, at least not so effectually, by anj/ 
other way. (4.) He then doeth it with the utmost sor- 
row and reluctance ; using it as the last and worst medi- 
cine, a desperate remedy in a desperate case, n kind of 
poison never to be used but to expel poison. Conse- 
quently, (5.) He uses it as sparingly as possible. And 
this he does with fear and trembling, lest he should 
transgress the law of love by speaking too much, more 
than he ^vould have done by not speaking at all. 


15. Love "believeth all things." It is always will 
ing to think the best ; to put the most favourable con 
gtructi m on every thing. It is ever ready to believe 
whatever may tend to the advantage of any one's chu 
racter It is easily convinced of (what it earnestly de- 
sires) the innocence or integrity of any man ; or, at 
least, of the sincerity of his repentance, if he had once 
errel from the way. It is glad to excuse whatever n 
amiss ; to condemn the offender as little as possible • 
and to make all the allowance for human weakness 
which can be done without betraying the truth of God. 

16. And when it can no longer believe, then love 
" hopcth all things." Is any evil related of any man !' 
Love hopes that the relation is not true, that the thing 
related was never done. Is it certain it was ? — " But 
perhaps it was not done with such circumstances as are 
related; so that, allowing the fact, there is room to hope 
it was not so ill as it is represented." Was the action 
apparently undeniably evil ? Love hopes the intention 
waf> not so. Is it clear the design was evil too ? — " Yet 
might it not spring from the settled temper of the heart 
but from a start of passion, or from some vehenien' 
temptation, which hurried the man beyond himself." 
And even when it cannot be doubted, but all the actions, 
designs, and tempers are equally evil, still love hopes 
that God will at last make bare his arm, and get himself 
the victory; and that there shall be "joy in heaven 
over" this " one sinner that repenteth, more than over 
ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance." 

17. Lastly. It " endureth all things." This com- 
pletes the character of him that is truly merciful. He 
endureth not some, not man}, things only; not most, 
but absolutely all things. Whatever the injustice, the 
maiiee, the cruelty of men can inflict, he is able to 
suffer. He calls nothing intolerable ; he never says of 
any thing, " This is not to be borne." No ; he can not 
only do, but suffer, all things through Christ whick 
•trengtheneth him. And all he suffers does not destroy 
his love, nor impair it in the least. It is proof again* 



all. It io a flame that burns even in the midst of tin 
great deep. " Many waters cannot quench" his " love, 
neither can the floods drown it." It triumphs over all 
It " never fa'leth," either in time or in eternity. 

" In obedience to what Heaven decrees, 
Knowledge shall fail, and prophoey shall ceaso ; 
But lasting charity's more amplo sway, 
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay, 
Id happy triumph shall for ever live, 
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive." 

80 shall "the merciful obtain mercy;" not only by the 
blessing of God upon all tbeir ways, by his now repay, 
ing the love they bear to their brethren a thousand-fold 
into their own bosom; but likewise by "an exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory," in the " kingdom prepared 
for them from the beginning of the world." 

18. For a little while yo» may say, "Wo is me, 
that 1" am constrained to " d^ell with Mesech, and to 
have my habitation among the tents of Kedar !" You 
may pour out your soul, and bemoan the loss of true, 
genuine love in the earth : lost indeed ! You may well 
say, (but not in the ancient sen»*.) " See how these 
Christians love one another !" these Christian kingdoms, 
that are tearing out each other's bowels, desolating one 
another with fire and sword ! these Christian armies, 
that are sending each other by thousands by ten thou- 
sands, quick into hell! these Christian nations, thai 
are all on fire with intestine broils, party «uminst party 
faction against faction ! these Christian cities, where 
deceit and fraud, oppression and wrong, ye*, robbery 
and murder, go not out of their streets ! these Christian 
families, torn asunder with envy, jealousy, jmger, do- 
mestic jars without number, without end ! yea what if 
most dreadful, most to be lamented of all, the**; Chris- 
tian churches ! — churches (" tell it not in Gath " — but, 
aias ! how can we hide it, either from Jews, T»rks, or 
pagans ?) that bear the name of Christ, the Pr'flce of 
Peace, and wage continual war with each othei ' that 
convert sinners by burning them alive ' that are " Irunt 


with the blood of the saints !" — Does this praise belong 
only to " Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and 
abominations of the earth ?" Nay, verily ; but Reformed 
ehurches (so called) have fairly learned to tread in her 
steps. Protestant churches, too, know to persecute, 
when they have power in their hands, even unto blood. 
And, meanwhile, how do they also anathematize each 
ether ! devote each other to the nethermost hell I What 
wrath, what contention, what malice, what bitterness, is 
everywhere found among them, even where they agree 
in essentials, and only diner in opinions, or in the cir 
cumstantials of religion ! Who follows after only the 
" things that make for peace, and things wherewith one 
may edify another ?" God ! how long ? Shall thy 
promise fail? Fear it not, ye little flock ! Against hope, 
believe in hope ! It is your Father's good pleasure yet 
to renew the face of the earth. Surely all these things 
shall come to an end, and the inhabitants of the earth 
shall learn righteousness. " Nation shall not lift up 
sword against nation, neither shall they know war any 
more." " The mountain of the Lord's house shall be 
established on the top of the mountains;" and "all 
the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms 
of our God." " They shall not" then " hurt or de- 
stroy in all his holy mountain ;" but they shall call 
their " walls salvation, and their gates praise." They 
nhall all be without spot or blemish, loving one another, 
even as Christ hath loved us. — Be thou part of the first- 
fruits, if the harvest is not yet. Do thou love thj 
neighbour as thyself. The Lord God fill thy heart with 
such a love to every soul, that thou mayest be ready tc 
lay down thy life for his sake ! May thy soul continually 
overflow with love, swallowing up every unkind and un- 
holy temper, till he calleth thee up into the region 0/ 
•ovo, there to reign with him for ever arid ever. 


l#ies. 1. (I. 1.) From what book are these quotation! 

Ques. 2. (1. 2.) Who are the meek? 

Ques. 3. (I. 3.) What is not implied in Christian meek- 
ness '! 

Cities. 4. (I. 4.) To whom does it relate? 

Ques. 5. (I. 5.) What is said of the discernment of the 
truly meek? 

Ques. 6. (I. 6.) What is said of this divine temper? 

Ques. 7. (I. 7.) Does it restrain only the outward act? 

Ques. 8. (I. 8.) What is here ranked under the head of 

Ques. 9. (I. 9.) What is here said of giving way to anger? 
What does the word "Raca" mean? 

Ques. 10. (1. 10.) What do men naturally imagine? 

Ques. 11. (I. 11.) What direction is given for reconciling 
those who are at enmity? 

Ques. 12. (I. 12.) Does the wisdom of the world recom- 
mend this course? 

Ques. 13. (I. 13.) What further meaning is conveyed? 

Ques. 14. (II. 1.) What is here said of our Lord's teaching 

Ques. 15. (II. 2.) What is meant by righteousness? 

Ques. 16. (II. 3.) What is said of hunger and thirst after 

Ques. 17. (II. 4. ) Can the soul be satisfied with what the 
world calls religion? 

Ques. 18. (II. 5.) What is the promise here made? 


Ques. 19. (II. 6.) What is the exhortation in this para- 

Ques. 20. (III. 1.) What is said of those who are filled 
with the life of God? 

Ques. 21. (III. 2.) What are we without this love? 

Ques. 22, (III. 3.) What characteristics of charity, or love, 
are here given? 

Ques. 23. (III. 4.) What is further s:ud of it? 

Ques. 24. (III. 5.) What is said of it witli regard to envy? 

Ques. 25. (III. 6.) What of vaunting itself? 

Ques. 26. (III. 7.) Is there any room for pride? 

Ques. 27. (III. 8.) What of its behavior? 

Ques. 28. (III. 9.) How does it seek to become all things 
to all men? 

Ques. 29. (III. 10.) Is it ever provoked? What is said 
of the word "easily?" 

Ques. 30. (III. 11.) What does love prevent? 

Ques. 31. (III. 12, 13.) In what does it rejoice? 

Ques. 32. (HI. 14.) What does it cover? 

Ques. 33. (III. 15.) What does it believe? 

Ques. 34. (III. 16, 17.) What does it hope and endure? 

Ques. 35. (III. 18.) How does the sermon conclude? 


I. Excellent things spoken of love to our neighbor. 
Fulfilling the law the end of the commandment. This love is 
only valuable when it springs from the love of God; there- 
fore, we are to examine ourselves closely. The pure in 
heart defined. Little regarded by false teachers in all ages. 
A remarkable instance. Nothing which is an occasion for 
impurity is admitted. Cutting off the right-hand, and the 
two steps to be taken before proceeding to this absolute and 
final separation. Marriage must not minister to loose de- 
sires. Polygamy clearly forbidden. The purity of heart 
which God requires. The pure in heart see God. Wherein 
they see him — in his providence, in his ordinances. All 
common swearing forbidden. Lawful oaths not forbidden. 
The great lesson inculcated. 

II. What we are to do. The blessedness of the peace- 
makers. Meaning of the original word and its wide appli- 
cation. The full extent of the peace-maker's work. Doing 
good to all men, and to the uttermost of his power. Re- 
joicing in any good that he may be able to do to the souls 
of men. Although the power is of God, he may be the 
instrument in God's hand. Blessedness of those who are 
thus employed. 

III. The character described is not to receive gracious 
treatment from the world. He will be persecuted and evil 
entreated. Who are these thus persecuted? The traits of 
character defined, and the question why they are persecuted 
answered. The next inouirv: Who are thej that persecute? 



The reason given for this persecution. The spirit of the 
world is offended in i.hem. The next inquiry, How will 
they persecute? is answered. Why God permitted persecu- 
tion to rage in the early history of the Church. Reference 
to the persecution in England. Lighter kinds of persecu- 
tion frequent. Some forms of it attend all the children of 
God. Some have supposed that before the fullness of the 
Gentiles shall come in all persecution shall cease. While 
this is probable, it happens even now that many sinful peo- 
ple do esteem and love those who are striving to live holy 
lives. Yet the offense of the cross has not ceased. The 
last inquiry concerns the behavior of the children of God 
under persecution. It is lawful to avoid it, but this cannot 
always be done. Rejoicing because of persecution for Christ'H 
gake. Cautions against being turned out of the w^y. Cob- 




■ blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall tee Qod. 

' Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the *hu 

dren of God: 
■'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' take. 

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
" Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, 

and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my 

" Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in 

heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before 

you." — Matt. v. 8-12. 

1. 1 . How excellent things are spoken of the love of 
our neighbour! It is the "fulfilling of the law," "the 
end of the commandment." Without this, all we have, 
all wc do, all we suffer, is of no value in the sight of 
God. Hut it is that love of our neighbour which 
springs from the love of God : otherwise itself is no- 
thing worth. It behoves us, therefore, to examine well 
upon what foundation our love of our neighbour stands; 
whether it is really built upon the love of God; whether 
we do "love him because he first loved us ;" whether 
wc are pure in heart : for this is the foundation whicl 
shall never be moved. " Blessed are the pure in heart: 
for they shall see God." 

2. " The pure in heart" are they whose hearts God 
hath "purified even as He is pure;" who are purified, 
through faith in the blood of Jesus, from every unholy 
affection ; who, being " cleansed from all filthiness of 
flesh and spirit, perfect holiness in the" loving " fear of 


God." They are, through tne power of his grace, puri- 
fied from pride, by the deepest poverty of spirit ; from 
anger, from every unkind or turbulent passion, by meek- 
ness and gentleness ; from every desire but to please and 
enjoy God, to know and love him more and more, by 
that hunger and thirst after righteousness which now 
engrosses their whole soul : so that now they love the 
Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their 
soul, and mind, and strength. 

3. But how little has this purity of heart been re 
garded by the false teachers of all ages ! They have 
taught men barely to abstain from such outward impuri- 
ties as God hath forbidden by name ; but they did nor 
strike at the heart ; and by not guarding against, they 
in effect countenanced, inward corruptions. 

K remarkable instance of this, our Lord has given us 
in the following words : " Ye have heard that it was 
said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adul- 
tery ;" (verse 27 ;) and, in explaining this, those blind 
leaders of the blind only insisted on men's abstaining 
from the outward act. "But I say unto you, that 
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath 
sommitted adultery with her already in his heart;" 
(verse 28;) for God requireth truth in the inward 
parts: he searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, 
and if thou incline unto iniquity with thy heart, the 
Lord will not hear thee. 

4. And God admits no excuse for retaining any tiling 
which is an occasion of impurity. Therefore, " if thy 
right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from 
thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy mem- 
bers should perish, and not that thy whole body should 
be cast into hell." (Verse 29.) If persons as dear to 
thee as thy right eye be an occasion of thy thus offend- 
ing God, a means of exciting unholy desire in thy soul, 
delay not, forcibly separate from them. " And if thy 
right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee 
for it is profitable for thee that one of thy member* 
should perish, and not that thy whole body should b 

swt into hell " ("Verse 30.) If any who seen) a* *•- 


476 sermon on the mount. [see **•»» 

ocssary to thee as thy right hand be an occasion of sin, 
of impure desire ; even though it were never to go bo- 
yond the heart, never to break out in word or action ; 
constrain thyself to an entire and final parting; oui 
them off at a stroke; give them uj to God. Any loss 
whether of pleasure, or substance, or friends, is prefc 
»ble to the loss of thy soul. 

Two steps only it may not be improper to take before 
such an absolute and final separation. First, try whether 
the unclean spirit may not be driven out by fasting and 
prayer, and by carefully abstaining from every action, 
and word, and look which thou hast found to be an oc- 
casion of evil. Secondly, if thou art not by this means 
delivered, ask counsel of him that watcheth over thy 
soul, or, at least, of some who have experience in the 
ways of God, touching the time and manner of that 
separation; but confer not with flesh and blood, lest 
thou be " given up to a strong delusion to believe a lie." 

5. Nor may marriage itself, holy and honourable 
as it is, be used as a pretence for giving a loose to oui 
desires. Indeed, "it hath been said, Whosoever will 
put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce- 
ment :" and then all was well ; though he alleged no 
cause, but that he did not like her, or liked another bet- 
ter. " But I say unto you, that whosoever shall p'Ji 
away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication," (that 
is, adultery, the word rtopvna. signifying unchastity iu 
general, ' ither in the married or unmarried state,) 
"causet" her 'o commit adultery," if she marry again. 
" and whosoever shall marry her that is put away com- 
mitteth adultery." (Verses 31, 32.) 

All polygamy is clearly forbidden in these words, 
wherein our Ixrd expressly declares, that for any 
woman who has a husband alive, to marry again a 
adultery. By parity cf reason, it is adultery for <*uy 
man to marry again, so long as he has a wife aiire; 
yea, although they divorced; unless that divorce 
had been for the cause of adultery; in that only 
'.here is no scripture which forbids to marry a^aio 


6. Such is the purity of heart which God require!- 
and works in those who believe on the Son of his 
love. And "blessed are" they who are thue "pure in 
heart: for they shall see God." He will "manifest 
himself unto them," not only " as he doth not unto the 
world," but as he doth not always to his own chil- 
dren. He will bless them with the clearest communi- 
cations of his Spirit, the most intimate "fellowship 
with the Father and with the Son." He will cause 
his presence to go continually before them, and the 
light of his countenance to shine upon them. It is 
the ceaseless prayer of their heart, " I beseech thee, 
show me thy glory ;" and they have the petition they 
ask of him. They now see Him by faith, (the veil of 
flesh being made, as it were, transparent,) even in these 
his lowest works, in all that surrounds them, in all that 
God has created and made. They see Him in the 
height above, and in the depth beneath ; they see Him 
filling all in all. The pure in heart see all things full 
of God. They see him in the firmament of heaven , 
in the moon walking in brightness ; in the sun, when 
he rejoiceth as a giant to run his course They see 
Him " making the clouds his chariots, and walking 
upon the wings of the wind." They see Him "pre- 
paring rain for the earth, and blessing the increase of 
it; giving grass for the cattle, and green herb for the 
use of man." They see the Creator of all, wisely go- 
verning all, and " upholding all things by the word of his 
power." " Lord, our Governor, how excellent is thy 
name in all the world !" 

7. In all his providences relating to themselves, to 
their sous or bodies, the pure in heart do more particu- 
larly see God. They see his hand ever over them for 
good; giving them all things in weight and measure, 
numbering the hairs of their head, making a hedge 
round about them and all that they have, and disposing 
all the circumstances of their life according to the depth 
both of his wisdom and mercy. 

8. But in a more especial manner they see Gel h» 

I— 2 k » 


his ordinances. Whether they appear in the great con 
gregation, to "pay him the honour due unto his name," 
" and worship him in the beauty of-holiness ;" or "enter 
into their closets," and there pour out their souls before 
their " Father which is in secret;" whether they search 
the oracles of God, or hear the ambassadors of Christ 
proclaiming glad tidings of salvation ; or, by eating of 
that bread, and drinking of that cup, " show forth his 
death till he come" in the clouds of heaven ; — in all 
these his appointed ways, they find such a near approach 
as cannot be expressed. They see him as it were, face 
to face, and " talk with him, as a man talketh with his 
friend;" — a fit preparation for those mansions above, 
wherein they shall see him as he is. 

9. But how far were they from seeing God, who, 
having heard " that it had been said by them of old time, 
Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto 
the Lord thine oaths," (verse 33,) interpretid it thus, Thou 
shalt not forswear thyself, when thou swearest by the 
Lord Jehovah : thou " shalt perform unto the Lord" 
these " thine oaths ;" but as to other oaths, he regardetb 
them not ! 

So the Pharisees taught. They not only allowed all 
manner of swearing in common conversation ; but ac- 
sounted even forswearing a little thing, so they had not 
sworn by the peculiar name of God. 

But our Lord here absolutely forbids all common 
swearing, as well as all false swearing ; and shows th? 
heinousness of both, by the same awful consideration, 
that every creature is God's, and he is everywhere pre 
sent, in all, and over all. " I say unto you, Swear not 
at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;" (verse 
3-1 ;) and therefore this is the same as to swear by Him 
*ho sittutli upon the circle of the heavens : " Nor by 
the earth ; for it is his footstool ;" (verse 35 ;) and he is 
as intimately present in earth as heaven : " Neither by 
Jerusalem ; for it is the city of the great King;" and 
God is well known in her palaces. "Neither shall 
•Lou swear by thy head ; because thou canpt not male 


one hair white or black ;" (verse 36 ;) because even this, 
it is plain, is not thine, but God's, the sole disposer of 
all in heaven and earth. " But let your communication," 
(verse 37,) your conversation, your discourse with each 
jther, " be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay;" a bare, serious affirm- 
ing or denying; "for whatsoever is more than these 
cometh of evil :" t* tov ttovypov tatw, is of the evil one; 
proceedeth from the devil, and is a mark of his children. 
10. That our Lord -lues not here forbid the " swear- 
ing in judgment and truth," when we are required so to 
do by a magistrate, may appear, (1.) Prom the occasion 
of this part of his discourse, — the abuse he was here 
reproving, — which was false swearing, and common 
swearing; the swearing before a magistrate being quite 
out of the question. — (2.) From the very words wherein 
he forms the. general conclusion: "Let your communi- 
cation," or discourse, "be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay." — 
(3.) From his own example; for he answered himself 
upon oath when required by a magistrate. When the high- 
priest said unto him, "I adjure thee by the living God, 
that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of 
God;" Jesus immediately answered in the affirmative, 
" Thou hast said ;" (that is, the truth ;) " nevertheless," 
(or, rather, moreover,) " I say unto you, Hereafter shall 
you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, 
and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matt. xxvi. 03, 
64.) — (4.) From the example of God, even the Father, 
who, " willing more abundantly to show unto the heir? 
of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it 
by an oath." (Heb. vi. 17 ) — (5.) From the example 
of St. Paul, who we think had the Spirit of God, ana 
well understood the mind of his Master. "God is my 
witness," saith he, toths Romans, " that without ceasing 
I make mention of you always in my prayers :" (Rom. 
i. 9 :) to the Corinthians, " I call God for a record upon 
my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto 
Corinth:" (2 Cor. i. 23 :) and to the Philippians, " God 
is my record, how greatly I long after you in the bowels 
of Jesus Christ." (Phil. i. 8.) Hence it undeniably 
appears, that if the apostle knew the meaning of hi* 


Lord's words, they do not forbid swearing ou weight} 
occasions even to one another : how much less before a 
magistrate ! — And, lastly, from that assertion of tht 
great apostle, concerning solemn swearing in general : 
(which it is impossible he could have mentioned without 
my touch of blame, if his Lord had totally forbidden it:) 
; ' Men <erily swear by the greater;" by one greater than 
-hemselves ; " and an oath for confirmation is to them 
in end of all strife." (Heb. vi. 16.) 

11. But the great lesson which our blessed Lord 
inculcates here, and which he illustrates by this example, 
is, that God is in all things, and that we are to see the 
Creator in the glass of every creature ; that we should 
use and look upon nothing as separate from God, which 
indeed is a kind of practical Atheism ; but, with a true 
magnificence of thought, survey heaven and earth, and 
all that is therein, as contained by God in the hollow of 
his hand, who by his intimate presence holds them all 
in being, who pervades and actuates the whole created 
frame, and is, in a true sense, the soul of the universe. 

II. 1. Thus far our Lord has been more directly 
employed in teaching the religion of the heart. He has 
shown what Christians arc to be. He proceeds to show, 
what they arc to do also; — how inward holiness is to 
3xcrt itself in our outward conversation. "Blessed," 
saitli he, "are the peace-makers; for they shall be called 
the children of God." 

2. "The peace-makers:" the word in the original is 
ot m.^iottoioi. It is well known that ttpqvti, in the 
sacred writings, implies all manner of good; every 
blessing that relates either to the soul or the body, to 
time or eternity. Accordingly, when St. Paul, in the 
titles of his epistles, wishes grace and peace to the 
Romans or the Corinthians, it is as if he had said, " At 
a fruit of the free, undeserved love and favour of God, 
may you enjoy all blessings, spiritual and temporal: all 
the good things which God hath prepared for them thai 
love him." 

3. Hence we may easily learn, in how wide a scn?e 
the torn " peace-makers" is to be understood. In it* 


jteral meaning it implies those lovers of God and man 
who utterly detest and abhor all strife and debate, all 
variance and contention ; and accordingly labour with 
all their might, either to prevent this fire of hell from 
being kindled, or, when it is kindled, from breaking out, 
or, when it is broke out, from spreading any further 
They endeavour to calm the stormy spirits of men, tc 
quiet their turbulent passions, to soften the minds of 
contending parties, and, if possible, reconcile them to 
each other. They use all innocent arts, and employ all 
their strength, all the talents which God has given them, 
as well to preserve peace where it is, as to restore it 
where it is not. It is the joy of their heart to promote, 
to confirm, to increase, mutual good-will among men, but 
more especially among the children of God, however dis 
tinguished by things of smaller importance ; that as they 
have all " one Lord, one faith," as they are all " called 
in one hope of their calling," so they may all " walk 
worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called ; with 
all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbear- 
ing one another in love j endeavouring to keep the unity 
of the Spirit in the bond of peace." 

4. But, in the full extent of the word, a peace-maker 
is one that, as he hath opportunity, " doeth good unto 
all men ;" one that, being filled with the love of God 
and of all mankind, cannot confine the expressions of it 
to his own family, or friends, or acquaintance, or party, 
or to those of his own opinions, — no, nor those who are 
partakers of like precious faith ; but steps over all these 
narrow bounds, that he may do good to every man, that 
he may, some way or other, manifest his love to neigh- 
boors and strangers, friends and enemies. He doetb 
good to them all as he hath opportunity, that is, on 
ovcry possible occasion j " redeeming the time," in order 
thereto ; buying up every opportunity, improving every 
hour, losing no moment wherein he may profit another. 
He docs good, nor of one particular kind, but good in 
general, in every possible way; employing herein all 
his talents of every kind, all his powers and faculties of 
body and soul, all his fortune, his interest, hif repute 
SJ 23 vol.i. »"* D*> 


fcion ; desiring only that when his Lord cometh, ho maj 
say, " Well done, good and faithful servant." 

5. He doeth good to the uttermost of his power, even 
to the bodies of all men. He rejoices to deal " his bread 
to the hungry," and to " cover the naked with a nt- 
caent." Is any a stranger ? He takes him in, and re- 
lieves him according to his necessities. Are any sick 
or in prison? He visits them, and administers such 
help as they stand most in need of. And all this he 
does, not as unto man ; but remembering Him that hath 
said, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of tbc 
least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

6. How much more does he rejoice, if he can do any 
good to the soul of any man ! This power, indeed, be- 
longeth unto God. It is he only that changes the heart 
without which every other change is lighter than vanity 
Nevertheless, it pleases Him who worketh all in all, tt 
help man chiefly by man ; to convey his own power 
and blessing, and love, through one man to another. 
Therefore, although it be certain that " the help which 
is done upon earth, God doeth it himself;" yet has no 
man need, on this account, to stand idle in his vineyard. 
The peace-maker cannot : he is ever labouring therein, 
and, as an instrument in God's hand, preparing the 
ground for his Master's use, or sowing the seed of the 
kingdom, or watering what is already sown, if haplj 
God may give the increase. According to the measuro 
of grace which he has received, he uses all diligence, 
either to reprove the gross sinner, to reclaim those whu 
run on headlong in the broad way of destruction; or 
"to give light to them that sit in darkness," and are 
ready to "perish for lack of knowledge;" or to "sup- 
port the weak, to lift up the I'inds that hang down, 
and the feeble knees;" or to bring back and heal that 
which was lame and turned out of the way. Nor is he 
less zealous to confirm those who are already striving to 
enter in at the strait gate ; to strengthen those that 
stand, that they may " run with patience the race which 
is set before them;" to build up in their most holy 
faith those that know in whom they hava believed : tc 



exhort them to stir up the gift of God which is in thru. 
that, daily growing in grace, " an entrance may be mi 
metered unto them abundantly into the everlasting king 
iom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 

7. " Blessed" are they who are thus continually em 
ployed in the work of faith and the labour of love j " foi 
they shall be called," that is, shall be, (a common He- 
braism,) "the children of God." God shall continue 
unto them the Spirit of adoption ; yea, shall pour ft 
more abundantly into their hearts. He shall bless them 
with all the blessings of his children. He shall acknow- 
ledge them as sons before angels and men ; " and if sons, 
then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." 

ITI. 1. One would imagine such a person as has been 
above described, so full of genuine humility, so unaf- 
fectedly serious, so mild and gentle, so free from all sel- 
fish design, so devoted to God, and such an active lovei 
of men, should be the darling of mankind. But our 
Lord was better acquainted with human nature in its 
present state. He therefore closes the character of this 
man of God with showing him the treatment he is to 
expect in the world. " Blessed," saith he, " are they 
which are persecuted for righteousness' sake ; for theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven." 

2. In order to understand this thoroughly, let us, 

first, inquire, Who are they that are persecuted ? And 

this we may easily learn from St. Paul : "As of old, 

he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was 

bom after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Gal. iv. 29.) 

" Yea," saith the apostle, " and all that will live godly 

in Christ Jesus shall suffer .persecution." (2 Tim. iii. 

12.) The same we are taught by St. John : " Marvc. 

not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know 

that we have passed from death unto life, because wc 

love the brethren." (1 John iii. 13, 14.) As if he had 

Raid, The brethren, the Christians, cannot be loved, but 

by them who have passed from death unto life. And 

most expressly by our Lord : " If the world hate you, 

ye know that it hated me before it hated jotx. a ye 

"ere of ti 3 world, the world would love its own ; bul 



because jo are not of the world, therefore the world 
hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, 
The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have 
persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 
iv. 18, &c.) 

By all theoe scriptures it manifestly appears who they 
are that are persecuted ; namely, the righteous : he 
" that is born of the Spirit ;" " all that will live godlj 
in Christ Jesus ;" they that are " passed from death unto 
life;" those who are "not of the world;" all those who 
are meek and lowly in heart, that mourn for God, that 
hunger after his likeness; all that love God, and their 
neighbour, and therefore, as they have opportunity, do 
good unto all men. 

'6. If it be, secondly, inquired, why they are perse- 
cuted, the answer is equally plain and obvious. It is 
" for righteousness' sake ;" because they are righteous ; 
because they are born after the Spirit; because they 
" will live godly in Christ Jesus ;" because they " are 
not of the world." Whatever may be pretended, this is 
the real cause : be their infirmities more or less, still, if 
it were not for this, they would be borne with, and the 
world would love its own. They are persecuted, be- 
muse they are poor in spirit ; that is, say the world, 
" poor-spirited, mean, dastardly souls, good for nothing, 
not fit to live in the world:" — because they mourn: 
" they are such dull, heavy, lumpish creatures, enough 
to sink any one's spirits that sees them! th'y are mere 
death-heads : they kill innocent mirth, and spoil company 
wherever they come :" — because they are meek : "tame, 
passive fools, just tit to be trampled upon :" — because 
they hunger mid thirst after riyhteoumess : "a parcel of 
hot-brained enthusiasts, gaping after they know not 
what, not content with rational religion, but running 
mad after raptures nnd inward feelings:" — because they 
«ro merciful, lovers of all, lovers of the evil and un- 
thankful : " encouraging all manner of wickedness; nay, 
tempting people to do mischief by impunity : and men 
who, it is to be feared, have their own religion still to 
viek ; very lo tse in their principles :" — because they sr* 



pun. in heart: "uncharitable creatures, that damn al) 
the world, but those that are of their own sort ! bias 
phcniiiiis wretches, that pretend to make God a liar, to 
live without sin !" — above all, because they are peace- 
makers; because they take all opportunities of doing 
good to all men. This is the grand reason why they 
have been persecuted in all ages, and will be till the 
restitution of all things : " If they would but keep their 
religion to themselves, it would be tolerable : but it is 
this spreading their errors, this infecting so many others, 
which is not to be endured. They do so much mischief 
in the world, that they ought to be tolerated no longer. 
It is true, the men do some things well enough ; they 
relieve some of the poor : but this, too, is only done to 
gain the more to their party; and so, in effect, to do the 
more mischief!" Thus the men of the world sincerely 
think and speak. And the more the kingdom of God 
prevails, the more the peace-makers are enabled to 
nropagate lowliness, meekness, and all other divine 
tempers, the more mischief is done, in their account : 
consequently, the more are they enraged against the 
authors of this, and the more vehemently will they per- 
secute them. 

4. Let us, thirdly, inquire, Who are they that per- 
secute them ? St. Paul answers, " He that is born after 
the flesh :" every one who is not "born of the Spirit," 
or, at least, desirous so to be ; all that do not at least 
labour to " live godly in Christ Jesus ;" all that are not 
"passed from death unto life," and, consequently, can- 
not " love the brethren ;" " the world," that is, accord- 
ing to our Saviour's account, they who " know not him 
that sent me ;" they who know not God, even the loving, 
pardoning God, by the teaching of his own Spirit. 

The reason is plain : the spirit which is in the world 
is directly opposite to the Spirit which is of God. It 
mast therefore needs be, that those who are of the world 
will be opposite to those who are of God. There is the 
utmost contrariety between them, in all their opinions, 
their desires, designs, and tempers. And hitherto tbc 
eopard and the kid cannot lie down in peace together 


The proud, because he is proud, cannot but persecute 
the lowly ; the light and airy, those that mourn : and so 
in every other kind ; the unlikeness of disposition (were 
there no other) being a perpetual ground of enmity. 
Therefore, were it only on this account, all the servants 
of the devil will persecute the children of God. 

5. Should it be inquired, fourthly, Imw they will per- 
secute them, it may be answered in general, just in that 
manner and measure which the wise Disposer of all 
sees will be most for his glory, — will tend most to hie 
children's growth in grace, and the enlargement of his 
own kingdom There is no one branch of God'c 
, government of the world which is more to be admired 
than this. His ear is never heavy to the threatcnings 
of the persecutor, or the cry of the persecuted. His eye 
is ever open, and his hand stretched out to direct every 
the minutest circumstance. When the storm shall be- 
gin, how high it shall rise, which way it shall point its 
course, when and how it shall end, are all determined by 
his unerring wisdom. The ungodly are only a sword 
of his ; an instrument which he uses as it pleaseth him, 
and which itself, when the gracious ends of his provi- 
dence are answered, is cast into the fire. 

At some rare times, as when Christianity was planted 
first, and while it was taking root in the earth; as aisc 
when the pure doctrine of Christ began to be planted 
again in our nation ; God permitted the storm to rise 
high, and his children were called to resist unto blood. 
There was a peculiar reason why he suffered this with 
regard to the apostles, that their evidence might be tho 
more unexceptionable. But from the annals of the 
church we learn another, and a far different reason, why 
he suffered the heavy persecutions which arose in the 
second and third centuries ; namely, because " thr 
mystery of iniquity" did so strongly "work;" because 
of the monstrous corruptions which even then reigned in 
the church ; these God chastised, and at the same time 
strove to heal, by those severe but necessary visitations 

Perhaps the same observation may he made, witt 
regard to tho grand persecution in our own land. God 


had dealt very graciously with our nation : ho had 
poured out various blessings upon us j he had given u.« 

Eeacc abroad and at home ; and a king wise and good 
eyond his years : and, above all, he had caused the pure 
light of his gospel to arise and shine among us. But 
what return did he find ? " He looked for righteousness! \ 
but behold a cry ;" a cry of oppression and wrong, of am- 
bition and injustice, of malice, and fraud, and covetous- 
ncss. Yea, the cry of those who even then expired in the 
flames entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. It 
was then God arose to maintain his own cause against 
those that held the truth in unrighteousness. Then he 
sold them into the hands of their persecutors, by a judg- 
ment mixed with mercy ; an affliction to punish, and yet 
a medicine to heal, the grievous backslidings of his people. 

6. But it is seldom God suffers the storm to rise so 
high as torture, or death, or bonds, or imprisonment. 
Whereas his children are frequently called to endure the 
lighter kinds of persecution : they frequently suffer the 
estrangement of kinsfolks, — the loss of the friends that 
were as their own soul. They find the truth of their 
Lord's word, (concerning the event, though not the 
design, of his coming,) " Suppose ye that I am come to 
give peace upon earth ? I tell you, Nay ; but rather 
division." (Luke xii. 51.) And hence will naturally 
follow loss of business or employment, and consequently 
of substance. But all these circumstances likewise are 
under the wise direction of God, who allots to every one 
what is most expedient for him. 

7. But the persecution which attends all the children 
of God is that our Lord describes in the following words :— 
" Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute 
you," — shall persecute by reviling you, — " and say all 
manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." This 
cannot fail ; it is the very badge of our discipleship ; it 
is one of the seals of our calling ; it is a sure portion en- 
tailed on all the children of God : if we have it not, we 
we bastards, and not sons : straight through evil report 
u well as good report lies the only way to the kingdom 


The meek, serious, humble, zealous lovers of God and 
man are of good report among their brethren ; but of 
evil report with the world, who count and treat them 
" as the filth and off-scouring of all things." 

8. Indeed some have supposed that before the fulness 
of the Gentiles shall come in, the scandal of the cross 
ffill cease ; that God will cause Christians to be esteemed 
and loved even by those who are as yet in their sins. 
l T ea, and sure it is, that even now he at some times 
suspends the contempt as well as the fierceness of men ; 
" he makes a man's enemies to be at peace with him" 
for a season, and gives him favour with his bitterest 
persecutors. But setting aside this exempt case, the 
scandal of the cross is not yet ceased ; but a man may 
say still, " If I please men, I am not the servaDt of 
Christ." Let no man therefore regard that pleasing 
suggestion, (pleasing doubtless to flesh and blood,) " that 
bad men only pretend to hate and despise them that 
are good, but do indeed love and esteem them in their 
hearts." Not so : they may employ them sometimes ; 
but it is for their own profit. They may put confidence in 
them ; for they know their ways are not like other men's. 
But still they love them not ; unless so far as the Spirit 
of God may be striving with them. Our Saviour's 
words are express : "If ye were of the world, the world 
would love its own ; but because ye are not of the world, 
therefore the world hateth you." Yea, (setting aside 
what exceptions in ly be made by the preventing grace, 
01 the peculiar providence, of God,) it hateth them at 
cordially and sincerely as ever it did their Master. 

9. It remains only to inquire, How are the children 
of God to behave with regard to persecution '( And, 
first, they ought not knowingly or designedly to bring it 
upon themselves. This is contrary both to the example 
and advice of our L >rd and all his apostles; who teach 
us not only not to seek, but to avoid it, as far as we can, 
without injuring our conscience ; without giving up any 
part of that righteousness which we are to prefer befor* 
life itself. So our Lord expressly: " When they perw 


ran. xxra.] sermon on the mount 489 

cute you in this city, flee ye into another ;" which is, 
indeed, when it can be taken, a most unexceptionable 
way of avoiding persecution. 

10. Yet think not that you can always avoid it, 
either by this or any other means. If ever that idle 
imagination steals into your heart, put it to flight by 
that earnest caution, " Remember the word that I said 
onto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If 
they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." 
" Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." But 
will this screen you from persecution 'I Not unless you 
have more wisdom than your Master, or more innocence 
lhan the Lamb of God. 

Neither desire to avoid it, to escape it wholly ; for if 
you do, you are none of his. If you escape the persecu- 
tion, you escape the blessing ; the blessing of those who 
are persecuted for righteousness' sake. If you are not 
persecuted for righteousness' sake, you cannot enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. " If we suffer with him, we 
shall also reign with him. But if we deny him, he will 
also deny us." 

11. Nay, rather, "rejoice and be exceeding glad," 
when men persecute you for his sake ; when they perse- 
cute you by reviling you, and by "saying all manner of 
evil against you falsely ;" which they will not fail to 
mix with every kind of persecution : they must blacken 
you to excuse themselves : " For so persecuted they 
the prophets which were before you ;" — those who were 
most eminently holy in heart and life ; yea, and all the 
righteous which ever have been from the beginning of 
the world. Rejoice, because hj this mark alst ye know 
unto whom ye belong ; and " because great is your re- 
ward in heaven," — the reward purchased by the blood 
of the cownant, and freely bestowed in proportion to 
your sufferings, as well as to your holiness of heart and 
life. " Be exceeding glad;" knowing that these "light 
afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for 
you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 

12. Meantime, let no persecution turn you out of th« 

£-2F " 


way of lowliness and meekness, of love and bcneficenoe 
" Ye have heard" indeed " that it hath been said, An eye 
or an eye, and a tooth for a tooth ;" (Matt. v. 38 ;) and 
your miserable teachers have hence allowed you to 
avenge yourselves, to return evil for evil : " But 1 say 
unto you, that ye resist not evil :" — not thus ; not by 
returning it in kind. " But," rather than do this, 
"whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to 
him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at 
the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy eloak 
also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, 
go with him twain." 

So invincible let thy meekness bo. And be thy lovi 
suitable thereto. " Give to him that asketh thee, and 
from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." 
Only, give not away that which is another man's, that 
which is not thine own. Therefore, (1.) Take care to 
owe no man any thing : for what thou owest is not thine 
own, but another man's. (2.) Provide for those of 
thine own household This also God hath required of 
tbee ; and what is necessary to sustain them in life and 
godliness is also not thine own. Then, (3.) Give or 
lend all that remains, from day to day, or from year to 
year : only, first, seeing thou canst not give or lend to 
all, remember the household of faith. 

13. The meekness and love we are to feel, the kind- 
ness we are to show to them which persecute us for right- 
eousness' sake, our blessed Lord describes further in the 
following verses : ! that they were engraven upon our 
hearts ! " Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy :" (Matt. 
v. 43, &c. :) God indeed had said only the former part, 
" Thou shalt love thy neighbour ;" the children of the 
devil had added the latter, "and hate thy enemy :" "But 
I say unto you," (1.) "Love your enemies:" see that 
you bear a tender good-will to those who are most bittei 
of spirit against you ; who wish you all manner of evil. 
(2.) " Bless them that curse you." Are there any whose 
bitterness of spirit breaks forth in bitter words ? win ar« 


continually cursing and reproaching you when you are 
present, and " saying all evil against you" when absent? 
So much the rather do you bless : in conversing witk 
them, use all mildness and softness of language. Reprove 
them, by repeating a better lesson before them ; by show- 
ing them how they ought to have spoken. And, in speak- 
ing of (hem, say all the good you can, without violating 
the rules of truth and justice. (3.) " Do good to them 
that hate you :" let your actions show that you are as real 
in love, as they in hatred. Return good for evil. " Be not 
overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (4.) If 
you can do nothing more, at least " pray for them that 
despitefully use you and persecute you " You can never 
be disabled from doing this; nor can all their malice or 
violence hinder you. Pour out your souls to God, not 
only for those who did this once, but now repent : — this 
is a little thing : " If thy brother, seven times a day, turn 
and say unto thee, I repent;" (Luke xvii. 4;) that is, if 
after ever so many relapses, he give thee reason to believe 
that he is really and thoroughly changed ; then thou shalt 
forgive him, so as to trust him, to put him in thy bosom, 
as if he had never sinned against thee at all : — bit pray 
for, wrestle with God for, those who do not repent, that 
now despitefully use thee and persecute thee. Thus far 
forgive them, "not until seven times only, but until 
seventy times seven " (Matt, xviii. 22.) Whether they 
repent or no, yea, though they appear farther and farther 
from it, yet show them this instance of kindness: "that 
ye may be the children," that ye may approve yourselves 
the genuine children, " of your Father which is in hea- 
ven; ' who shows his goodness by giving such blessings 
as they are capable of, even to his stubbornest enemies; 
"who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." 
" For if ye love them which love you, what reward have 
ye ? Do not even the publicans the same ?" (Matt v. 
46 ;) — who pretend to no religion ; whom ye yourselves 
soknowledge to be without God in the world. " And if 

ye salute," show kindness in word or deed to, "your 



brethren," your friends or kinsfolk, " only ; what do 
ye more than others '(" — than those who have no reli- 
gion at all ? "Do not even the publicans so?" (Matt. 
v. 47.) Nay, but follow ye a better pattern than them. 
In patience, in longsuffering, in mercy, in beneficence 
of every kind, to all, even to your bitterest persecutors; 
" be ye," Christians, " perfect," in kind, though not in 
degree, " even as your Father which is in heaven is 
perfect." (Matt. v. 48.) 

IV. Behold Christianity in its native form, as de- 
livered by its great Author! This is the genuine religion 
of Jesus Christ ! Such he presents it to him whose eyes 
are opened. See a picture of God so far as he is iini- 
table by man ! a picture drawn by God's own band 
" Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish !" Or, 
rather, wonder and adore ! Rather cry out, " Is this the 
religion of Jesus of Nazareth ? the religion which 1 per- 
secuted ? Let me no more be found even to fight against 
God. Lord, what wouldest thou have me to do V 
What beauty appears in the whole ! How just a 
symmetry ! What exact proportion in every part ! How 
desirable is the happiness here described ! How vene- 
rable, how lovely the holiness ! This is the spirit, of re- 
ligion ; the quintessence of it. These are indeeil the 
fundamentals of Christianity. that we may not he 
hearers of it only ! — " like a man beholding his own face 
in a glass, who goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth 
what manner of man he was." Nay, but let us steadily 
" look into this perfect law of liberty, and continue 
therein." Let us not rest, until every line thereof is 
transcribed into our own hearts. Let us watch, and 
pray, and believe, and love, and " strive for the mas- 
tery," till every part of it shall appear on our soul, gra- 
ven there by the finger of God ; till we are " holy as he 
which hath called us is holy, perfect as our Father 
■ hicb is in heaven is perfect." 


Ques. 1. (I. 1.) Of what are excellent things spoken? 

Ques. 2. (I. 2.) Who are the pure in heart? 

Ques. ?. (I. 3.) Has this been highly regarded by the 

Ques. 4. (I. 4.) Is there any excuse for retaining any occa- 
sion of impurity? 

Ques. 5. (I. 5.) What is here said of marriage? Of po- 

Ques. 6. (I. 6.) What is here said of the pure in heart? 

Ques. 7. (I. 7.) Who are they who see God? 

Ques. 8. (I. 8.) In what manner especially? 

Ques. 9. (I. 9.) What is said of the practice of swearing? 

Ques. 10. (I. 10.) Is lawful swearing forbidden? 

Ques. 11. (I. 11.) What great lesson does our Lord incul- 

Ques. 12. (II. 1.) What has our Lord so far shown us? 

Ques. 13. (II. 2.) What is the meaning of peace-makers? 

Ques. 14. (II. 3.) What do we learn from this? 

Ques. 15. (II. 4.) What is a peace-maker in the full sense 
of the word ? 

Ques. 16. (II. 5.) To whom does he do good? To what 

Ques. 17. (II. 6.) Why does he rejoice in spiritual good? 

Ques. 18. (II. 7.) Who are here called "blessed?" 

Ques. 19. (III. 1.) Is this character beloved of mankind? 

Ques. 20. (III. 2.) What do we first inquire? 

Ques. 21. (III. 3 ) What is the second inquirv ? 

Ques. 22. (III. 4.) What is the third inquiry? 
9 (49$ 


Ques. 23. (III. 5.) What is the fourth inquiry? 

Ques. 24. (III. 6.) Does God suffer the storm to rise high 
often ? 

Ques 25. (III. 7.) How is persecution described? 

Ques. 2(>. (III. 8.) What have some supposed? 

Ques 27. (III. 9.) What is the last inquiry? 

Ques. 2S. (III. 10.) Can persecution lie always avoi.led? 

Ques. 29. (III. 11.) What should we do rather than seek 
always to avoid it? 

Ques. 30. (III. 12.) What caution is here given? 

Ques. 31. (III. 13.) How does our Lord describe our duty 1 

Ques. 32. (III. 14.) How does the sermon conclude? 


I. The beauty of holiness — of the inward man of the heart. 
Bears the shape of God visibly impressed upon it. This 
beauty, in the estimation of some, is clogged with doing and 
suffering. Eminent men have thus spoken, and advised 
others to cease from all outward action, and to withdraw 
from the world. This device of Satan was open to the eye 
of our Lord, and he therefore guards us against it. To ex- 
plain and enforce the words of the text, Christianity is shown 
to be a social religion. Solitude and society may be profit- 
ably intermixed, but solitude must not be allowed to swal- 
low up all our time. Meekness has no place except in soci- 
ety. Peace-making involves intercourse with men. Inter- 
course with men who know not God allowable and, in order 
to the full exertion of all good tempers, necessary. 

II. Eeligious influence cannot be concealed. The illustra- 
tion of the city upon a hill. Holiness becomes conspicuous ; 
the light shines in the midst of darkness. It is therefore 
impossible to keep our religion from being seen. The can- 
dle is not placed under a bushel, but on a candlestick. God 
has not only given these precepts, but has given his exam- 
ple also. Notwithstanding, there are many plausible rea- 
sons given for a solitary religion. 

III. To answer these objections. It is objected that re- 
ligion does not lie in outward things, but in the heart, the 
soul. This is true; but if the root of religion is in the 
heart, it will send forth the branches that prove its exist- 
ence. While bare, outside religion, which has no root in 



the soul, is worth nothing, yet God delights in the outward 
service which is prompted hy worship of the heart. A sec- 
ond objection, that love is all, is granted thus far, but love 
does not supersede either faith or good works. We are thus 
to follow after charity in doing good to others. I'ecause God 
is a Spirit, and would have spiritual worship from us. we ought 
therefore to worship him with all the powers of the mind, 
and to glorify him with our bodies also, it follows that con- 
templation is only one way of worshiping God. The grand 
objection that experience of the use of ordinances has not 
found them profitable. To this it is answered, because they 
were substituted for Christ. Trying to do good, to reform 
sinners, and failing therein, is only to follow in the steps of 
our Lord. 

IV Therefore, the light of our precept and example must 
shine forth, having the one design to glorify God and to save 
the souls of men. 



DI8COOR8K rv. 

' Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the salt have lost hit savour 
wherewith shall it be salted f it is thenceforth good for nothing 
but to be east out, and to be trodden underfoot of men. 

' Tt are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill can- 
not be hid. 

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but 
on a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all that are in tht 

" Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." — Matt. 
v. 13-16. 

1. The beauty of holiness, of that inward man of the 
heart which is renewed after the image of God, cannot 
but strike every eye which God hath opened, — every 
enlightened understanding. The ornament of a meek, 
humble, loving spirit, will at least excite the approba- 
tion of all those who are capable, in any degree, of dis- 
cerning spiritual good and evil. From the hour men 
begin to emerge out of the darkness which covers the 
giddy, unthinking world, they cannot but perceive how 
desirable a thing it is to be thus transformed into the 
likeness of Him that created us. This inward religion 
bears the shape of God so visibly impressed upon it. 
that a soul must be wholly immersed in flesh aDd blood 
*hen he can doubt of its divine original. We may say 

32 * EE VOL. I. 2*2 


of this, in a secondary sense, even as of the Son of God 
himself, that it is " the brightness of his glory, the ex- 
press image of his person ;" arttmyaafia rrji &o%r t $ avtav, 
— " the beaming forth of his" eternal " glory ;" and yet 
so tempered and softened, that even the children of men 
may herein see God and live ; x a P ax * 1l !P rr !f vHoar&3tun 
onto*), — " the character, the stamp, the living impres- 
sion of his person," who is the fountain of beauty and 
love, the original source of all excellency and perfec- 

2 If religion, therefore, were carried no farther 
than this, they could have no doubt concerning it ; they 
should have no objection against pursuing it with the 
whole ardour of their souls. " But why," say they, 
" is it clogged with other things? What need of load- 
ing it with doing and suffering ? These are what damps 
the vigour of the soul, and sinks it down to earth again. 
Is it not enough to 'follow after charity;' to soar upon 
the wings of love ? Will it not suffice to worship God, 
who is a Spirit, with the spirit of our minds, without 
encumbering ourselves with outward things, or even 
thinking of them at all ? Is it not better, that the whole 
extent of our thought should be taken up with high and 
heavenly contemplation ; and that instead of busying 
ourselves at all about externals, we should only commune 
with God in our hearts ?" 

3. Many eminent men have spoken thus; have 
advised us " to cease from all outward action ;" wholly 
to withdraw from the world ; to leave the body behind 
us; to abstract ourselves from all sensible things; to 
have no concern at all about outward religion, but in 
work all virtues in the will ; as the far more excellent 
way, more perfective of the soul, as well as more accept 
able to God. 

4. It needed not that any should tell our Lord of this 
masterpiece of the wisdom from beneath; this fairest 
of all the devices wherewith Satan hath ever perverted 
the right ways of the Lord I And oh ! what instrument* 
bath he found, from time to time, to employ in this hii 


service, to wield this grand engine of hell against somf 
of the most important truths of God ! — men that woul>l 
" deceive, if it were possible, the very elect," the men of 
faith and love ; yea, that have for a season deceived and 
led away no inconsiderable number of them, who have 
falleD in all ages into the gilded snare, and hardly escaped 
with the skin of their teeth. 

5. But has our Lord been wanting on his part? Has 
he not sufficiently guarded us against this pleasing 
delusion ? Has he not armed us here with armour of 
proof against Satan " transformed into an angel of 
light ?" Yea, verily : he here defends, in the clearest 
aud strongest manner, the active, patient religion he had 
just described. What can be fuller and plainer than the 
words he immediately subjoins to what he had said of 
doing and suffering ? " Ye are the salt of the earth : 
but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be 
salted 1 It is thenceforth good for nothing but to bo 
cast out, and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the 
light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot 
be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under 
a bushel, but on a candlestick ; and it giveth light to all 
that are in the house. Let your light so shine before 
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify 
your Father which is in heaven." 

In order fully to explain and enforce these important 
words, I shall endeavour to show, first, that Christianity 
is essentially a social religion ; and that to turn it into 
a solitary one is to destroy it. Secondly, that to con- 
ceal this religion is impossible, as well as utterly contrary 
to the design of its Author I shall, thirdly, answei 
some objections; and conclude the whole with a prao 
tical application. 

1 1 First I shall endeavour to show, that 
Christianity is essentially a social religion ; and that 
to turn it into a solitary religion is indeed to destroy 

By Christianity, I mean that method of worshipping 
Qod which is here revealed to man by Jesus Christ 


When I say, This is essentially a social religion, I 
mean not only that it cannot subsist so well, but that it 
cannot subsist at all, without society, — without living 
and conversing with other men. And in showing this, 
1 shall confine myself to those considerations which will 
arise from the very discourse before us. But if this be 
shown, then, doubtless, to turn this religion into a soli- 
tary one is to destroy it. 

Not that we can in anywise condemn the intermixing 
solitude or retirement with society. This is not only 
allowable, but expedient ; nay, it is necessary, as daily 
experience shows, for every one that either already is, or 
desires to be, a real Christian. It can hardly be, that 
we should spend one entire day in a continued inter- 
course with men, without suffering loss in our soul, and 
in some measure grieving the Holy Spirit of God. We 
have need daily to retire from the world, at least morn- 
ing and evening, to converse with God, to commune 
more freely with our Father which is in secret. Nor 
indeed can a man of experience condemn even longer 
seasons of religious retirement, so they do not imply any 
neglect of the worldly employ wherein the providence 
of God has placed us. 

2. Yet such retirement must not swallow up all our 
time : this would be to destroy, not advance, true reli- 
gion. For, that the religion described by our Lord in 
the foregoing words cannot subsist without society, with- 
out our living and conversing with other men, is mani- 
fest from hence, that several of the most eBsential 
branches thereof can have no place if we have no inter- 
course with the world. 

3. There is no disposition, for instance, which is 
more essential to Christianity than meekness. Now 
although this, as it implies resignation to God, or pa- 
tience in pain and sickness, may subsist in a desert, in i 
hermit's cell, in total solitude ; yet as it implies (whict 
it no less necessarily does) mildness, gentleness, and 
long-suffering, it cannot possibly have a being, it has no 
place under heaven, without an intercourse with othor 


men ; so that to attempt turning this into a solitary vir- 
tue is to destroy it from the face of the earth. 

4. Another necessary branch of true Christianity it 
peace-making, or doing of good. That this is equally 
essential with any of the other parts of the religion 
of Jesus Christ, there can be no stronger argument to 
evince, (and therefore it would be absurd to allege 
aiiy other,) than that it is here inserted in the original 
plan he has laid down of the fundamentals of his reli- 
gion. Therefore, to set aside this is the same daring 
insult on the authority of our Great Master as to set 
aside mercifulness, purity of heart, or any other branch 
of his institution. But this is apparently set aside 
bj all who call us to the wilderness ; who recommend 
entire solitude either to the babes, or the young men, 
or the fathers in Christ. For will any man affirm 
that a solitary Christian (so called, though it is little 
less than a contradiction in terms) can be a merciful 
man, — that is, one that takes every opportunity of 
doing all good to all men ? What can be more plain, 
than that this fundamental branch of the religion 
of Jesus Christ cannot possibly subsist without so- 
ciety, without our living and conversing with other 

5. " But is it not expedient, however," uie might 
naturally ask, " to converse only with good men, — 
only with those whom we know to be meek and 
merciful, — holy of heart, and holy of life ? Is it not 
expedient to refrain from any conversation or intercourse 
with men of the opposite character, — men who do not 
obey, perhaps do not believe*, the gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ?" The advice of St. Paul to the Christians 
at Corinth may seem to favour this : " I wrote unto you 
in an epistle not to company with fornicators." (1 Cor. 
T. 9.) And it is certainly not advisable so to company 
with them, or with any of the workers of iniquity, 
u to have any particular familiarity or any strictness 
of friendship with them. To contract or continue an 
intimacy with anv such is no way expedient for a Chri* 


tian. It must necessarily expose him to abundance of 
dangers and snares, out of which he can have no reason 
able hope of deliverance. 

But the apostle does not forbid us to have any inter- 
course at all even with the men that know not God : 
"For then," says he, "ye must needs go out of the 
world ;" which he coukl never advise them to do. But 
he subjoins, " If any man that is called a brother," 
that professes himself a Christian, " be a fornicator, 01 
covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or 
au extortioner;" (1 Cor. v. 11 ;) " now I have written 
unto you not to keep company with thcin ; with such 
an one no not to eat." This must necessarily imply, 
that wc break off all familiarity, all intimacy of ac- 
quaintance, with him. " Yet count him not," saith the 
apostle elsewhere, " as an enemy, but admonish him as 
a brother;" ("2 Thess. hi. 15;) plainly showing that 
even in such a case as this, we are not to renounce all 
fellowship with him. So that there is no advice to 
separate wholly even from wicked men. Yea, these very 
words teach us quite the contrary. 

6. Much more the words of our Lord ; who is so far 
from directing us to break off all commerce with the 
world, that without it, according to his account of 
Christianity, we cannot be Christians at all. It would 
be easy to show, that some intercourse even with un- 
godly and unholy men is absolutely needful, in order 
to the full exertion of every temper which he has 
described as the way to the kingdom; that it is indis- 
pensably necessary, in order to the complete exercise of 
poverty of spirit, of mourning, and of every other 
disposition which has a place here, in the genuine 
religion of Jesus Christ. Yea, it is necessary to the 
very being of several of them ; of that meekness, for 
uxample, which, instead of demanding " an eye tor an 
eye, or a tooth for a tooth," doth " not resist evil," but 
oauses us rather, when smitten ''on the right cheek, to 
turn the other also ;" — of that mercifulness, whereby w ■ 
love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do got*) 


to them that hate us, and pray for them which despite- 
fully use us and persecute us;" — and of that complica- 
tion of love and all holy tempers which is exercised in 
Buffering for righteousness' sake. Now all these, it is 
clear, could have no being, were we to have no commerce 
with any but real Christians. 

7. Indeed, were we wholly to separate ourselves 
from sinners, how could we possibly answer that 
character which our Lord gives us in these very 
words ? " Ye" (Christians, ye that arc lowly, serious, 
and meek; ye that hunger after righteousness, that 
love God and man, that do good to all, and therefore 
suffer evil ; ye) " are the salt of the earth :" it is your 
very nature to season whatever is round about you. It 
is the nature of the divine savour which is in you, 
to spread to whatsoever you touch ; to diffuse itself, 
on every side, to all those among whom you arc. 
This is the great reason why the providence of God 
has so mingled you together with other men, that 
whatever grace you have received of God may through 
you be communicated to others; that every holy tem- 
per and word and work of yours may have an influ- 
ence on them also. By this means a check will, in 
some measure, be given to the corruption which is in 
the world ; and a small part, at least, saved fiom the 
general infection, and rendered holy and pure before 

8. That we may the more diligently labour to season 
all we can with every holy and heavenly temper, our 
Lord proceeds to show the desperate state of those 
who do not impart the religion they have received ; 
which indeed they cannot possibly fail to do, so long 
as it remains in their own hearts. " If the salt have 
lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? It is 
thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and 
trodden under foot of men :" if ye, who were holy 
and heavenly-minded, and consequently zealous c< 
good works, have no longer that savour in yourselves, 
ind do therefore no longer season others ; if you art 


grown flat, insipid, dead, both careless of your owl 
souls, and useless to the souls of other men ; wherewitb 
shall ye be salted ? How shall ye be recovered ? Whai 
help ? What hope '/ Can tasteless salt be restored to 
its savour? No; " it is thenceforth good for nothing 
but to be cast out," even as the mire in the streets, 
" and to be trodden under foot of men," to be over- 
whelmed with everlasting contempt. If ye had never 
known the Lord, there might Lave been hope, — if ye 
had never been " found in him :" but what can you 
now say to that, his solemn declaration, just parallel to 
what he hath here spoken ? " Every branch in nip 
that beareth not fruit, he," the Father, " taketh away. 
He that abideth in me, and I in him, bringeth forth 
much fruit." " If a man abide not in me," or do not 
bring forth fruit, " he is cast out as a branch, and 
withered; and men gather them," not to plant 
them again, but " to cast them into the fire." (John 
xv. 2, 5, 6.) 

9. Toward those who have never tasted of the good 
word, G-od is indeed pitiful and of tender mercy. 
But justice takes place with regard to those who 
have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and have after- 
wards turned back " from the holy commandment" 
then " delivered to them." " For it is impossible for 
those who were once enlightened ;" (Heb. vi. 4, &c. ;) 
in whose hearts God had once shined, to enlighten 
them with the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ ; " who have tasted of the heavenly 
gift," of redemption in his blood, the forgiveness of sins; 
u and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost," of 
lowliness, of meekness, and of the love of God and man 
shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost which 
was given unto them ; and " have fallen away," — >w 
Haparti «on"a$, — (here is not a supposition, but a flat 
declaration of matter of fact,) " to renew them again 
unto repentance ; seeing they crucify to themselves 
the Son of God afresh, and put him to an «per 


But that none may misunderstand these awful wonl<», 
it should be carefully observed, (1.) Who they are 
that arc here spoken of; namely, they, and they only, 
who were once thus "enlightened;" they only, "who 
did taste of" that " heavenly gift, and were" thus 
"made partakers of the Holy Ghost." So that all 
who have not experienced these things are wholly un- 
concerned in this scripture. (2.) What that falling 
away is, which is here spoken of : it is an absolute, 
total apostasy. A believer may fall, and not fall away. 
He may fall and rise again. And if he should fall, 
even into sin, yet this case, dreadful as it is, is not des- 
perate. For " we have an Advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous ; and he is the propitiation 
for our sins." But let him above all things beware, lest 
his " heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin ;" 
lest he should sink lower and lower, till he wholly fall 
away, till he become as salt that hath lost its savour : 
for if we thus sin wilfully, after we have received the 
experimental " knowledge of the truth, there remaineth 
no more sacrifice for sins ; but a certain fearful looking 
for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall 
devour the adversaries." 

II. 1. " But although we may not wholly separate 
ourselves from mankind, although it be granted we ought 
to season them with the religion which God has 
wrought in our hearts, yet may not this be done insen- 
sibly ? May we not convey this into others in a secret 
and almost imperceptible manner, so that scarce any 
one shall be able to observe how or when it is done 1 — 
even as salt conveys its own* savour into that which is 
seasoned thereby, without any noise, and without being 
liable to any outward observation. And if so, although 
we do not go out of the world, yet we may lie hid in 
it. We may thus far keep our religion to ourselves -' 
ind not offend those whom we cannot help." 

2. Of this plausible reasoning of flesh and blood, our 
lx>rd was well aware also: and he has given a full 
*n*wcr to it in those words which come now to b* 
u Lr- as 


considered ; in explaining which, I shall endeavour to 
show, as I proposed to do in the second place, that so 
long as true religion abides in our hearts, it is impossi- 
ble to conceal it, as well as absolutely contrary to the 
design of its great Author. 

And, first, it is impossible for any that have it, to 
conceal the religion of Jesus Christ. This our Lord 
makes plain beyond all contradiction, by a twofold 
comparison : " Ye are the light of the world : a citj 
set upon a hill cannot be hid." Ye Christians are " the 
light of the world," with regard both to your tempers 
aDd actions. Your holiness makes you as conspicuous 
as the sun in the midst of heaven. As ye cannot go 
out of the world, so neither can ye stay in it without 
appearing to all mankind. Ye may not flee from men : 
and while ye are among them, it is impossible to hide 
your lowliness and meekness, and those other disposi- 
tions whereby ye aspire to be perfect as your Father 
which is in heaven is perfect. Love cannot be hid 
any more than light ; and least of all, when it shines 
forth in action, when ye exercise yourselves in the 
labour of love, in beneficence of every kind. As 
well may men think to hide a city, as to hide a 
Christian ; yea, as well may they conceal a city set 
upon a hill, as a holy, zealous, active lover of God 
and man. 

3. It is true, men who love darkness rather than 
light, because their deeds are evil, will take all possible 
pains to prove that the light which is in you is dark- 
ness. They will say evil, all manner of evil, falsely, of 
the good which is in you; they will lay to you: 
charge that which is farthest frcm your thoughts, 
which is the very reverse of all you are, and all you do. 
And your patient continuance in well-doing, your 
meekly suffering all things for the Lord's sake, your 
calm, humble joy in the midst of persecution, ycur un- 
wearied labour to overcome evil with good, will make 
you still more visible and conspicuous than yo were 


4. So impossible it is to keep our religion from b»- 
ing seen, unless we cast it away ; so vain is the thought 
of hiding the light, unless by putting it out ! Sure it 
is, that a secret, unobserved religion cannot be the reli- 
gion of Jesus Christ. Whatever religion can he con- 
cealed, is not Christianity. If a Christian could be hid, 
he could not be compared to " a city set upon a hill ;" 
to "the light of the world," the sun shining from 
heaven, and seen by all the world below. Never, 
therefore, let it enter into the heart of him whom God 
hath renewed in the spirit of his mind, to hide that 
light, to keep his religion to himself; especially con- 
sidering it is not only impossible to conceal true Chris- 
tianity, but likewise absolutely contrary to the design 
of the great Author of it. 

5. This plainly appears from the following words' 
" Neither do men light a candle to put it under a 
bushel." As if he had said, As men do not light 
a candle only to cover and conceal it, so neither does 
God enlighten any soul with his glorious knowledge 
and love, to have it covered or concealed, either 
by prudence, falsely so called, or shame or volun 
tary humility ; to have it hid either in a desert, 
or in the world ; either by avoiding men, or in con- 
versing with them "But tL^y put it on a candle- 
stick, and it giveth light to all that are in the 
house :" in like manner, it is the design of God 
that every Christian should be in an open point 
if view ; that he may give light to all around, 
that he may visibly express the religion of Jesus 

6. Thus hath God in all ages spoken to the world, 
not only by precept, but by example also. He hath 
" not left himself without witness," in any nation where 
the sound of the gospel hath gone forth, without a 
few who have testified his truth by their lives as well at 
their words. These have been " as lights shining in a 
dark place." And from time to time they have been the 
means of enlightening gome, of preserving a remnant, i 



ittle seed which was "counted unto the Lord for t 
generation." They have led a few poor sheep out of 
the darkness of the world, and guided their feet into the 
way of peace. 

7. One might imagine that, where both Scripture 
and the reason of things speak so clearly and expressly, 
there could not be much advanced on the other side, 
at least not with any appearance of truth. But they 
who imagine this know little of the depths of Satan. 
After all that Scripture and reason have said, so exceed 
iug plausible are the pretences for solitary religion, for 
a Christian's going out of the world, or at least hiding 
himself in it, that we need all the wisdom of God to 
see through the snare, and all the power of God to 
escape it; so many and strong are the objections which 
have been brought against being social, open, active 

III. 1. To answer these, was the third thing which 
' proposed. And, first, it has been often objected, that 
religion does not lie in outward things, but in the heart, 
the inmost aoul ; that it is the union of the soul with 
God; the life of God in the soul of man ; that outside 
religion is nothing worth; seeing God " delighteth not 
in burnt-offerings," in outward services, but a 
pare and holy heart is the "sacrifice he will not 

I answer, It is most true, that the root of religion lies 
in the heart ; in the inmost soul ; that this is the union 
of the soul with God, the life of God in the soul of man. 
But if this root be really in the heart, it cannot but put 
forth branches. And these are the several instances 
of outward obedience, which partake of the same nature 
W)th the root; and, consequently, are not only mark* 
or signs, but substantial parts, of religion. 

[t is also true, that bare outside religion, which 
fcus no root in the heart, is nothing worth; tha' 
God delighteth not in such outward services, no mor" 
than in Jewish burnt-offerings ; and that a pure and 
holy heart is a sacrifice with which he is always wel 


pleased. But he is also well pleased with all that out 
ward service which arises from the heart ; with the sacri- 
fice of our prayers, (whether public or private,) of our 
praises and thanksgivings; with the sacrifice of our 
goods, humbly devoted to him, and employed wholly to 
his glory ; and with that of our bodies, which he pecu- 
liarly claims, which the apostle beseeches us, " by the 
mercies of God, to present unto him, a living sacrifice, 
holy and acceptable unto God." 

2. A second objection, nearly related to this, is, that 
love is all in all ; that it is " the fulfilling of the law," 
"the end of the commandment," of every command- 
ment of God ; that all we do, and all we suffer, if we 
have not charity or love, profiteth us nothing; and 
therefore the apostle directs us to " follow after charity," 
and terms this " the more excellent way." 

I answer, It is granted, that the love of God and 
man, arising from faith unfeigned, is all in all, the ful- 
filling of the law, the end of every commandment of 
God. It is true, that without this, whatever we do, 
whatever we suffer, profits us nothing. But it does not 
follow, that love is all in such a sense as to supersede 
either faith or good works. It is " the fulfilling of the 
law," not' by releasing us from, but by constraining 
us to obey, it It is " the end of the commandment," 
as every commandment leads to and centres in it. It 
is allowed, that whatever we do or suffer without love 
profits us nothing : but withal, whatever we do or suffer 
in love, though it were only the suffering reproach for 
Christ, or the giving a cup of cold water in his name, 
it shall in no wise lose its reward. 

3. "But does not the apostle direct us to 'follow 
after charity V And does he not term it ' a more excel- 
lent way !' " He does direct us to " follow after 
charity;" but not after that alone. His words are, 
'' Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts." (1 Cor. 
liv. 1.) Yea, "follow after charity;" and desire tc 
gpend and be spent for your brethren. "Follow after cha 
nty ;" and as you have opportunity, do good to all mev 

M 2aH 


In the same verse wherein he terms this, the way of 
love, " a more excellent way," he directs the Corinthians 
to desire other gifts besides it ; yea, to desire them earn- 
estly. " Covet earnestly," saith he, " the best gifts ; and 
yet I show unto you a more excellent way." (1 Cor. xii. 
31.) More excellent than what? Than tht gifts of heal- 
ing, of speaking with tongues, and of interpreting, men- 
tioned in the preceding verse ; but not more excellent 
than the way of obedience. Of this the apostle is not 
speaking ; neither is he speaking of outward religion at 
all : so that this text is quite wide of the present question. 

But suppose the apostle had been speaking of outward 
as well as inward religion, and comparing them together; 
suppose, in the comparison, he had given the preference 
ever so much to the latter ; suppose he had preferred (a» 
he justly might) a loving heart, before all outward works 
whatever ; yet it would not follow that we were to reject 
either one or the other. No ; God hath joined them 
together from the beginning of the world ; and let not 
man put them asunder. 

4. "But ' God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, 
must worship him in spirit and in truth.' And is not 
this enough ? Nay, ought we not to employ the whole 
strength of our mind herein ? Does not attending to 
outward things clog the soul, that it cannot soar aloft 
in holy contemplation ? Does it not damp the vigour 
of our thought ? Has it not a natural tendency to en- 
cumber and distract the mind ? Whereas St. Paul would 
have us to be ' without carefulness,' and to ' wait upon 
the Lord without distraction.' " 

I answer, " God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, 
must worship him in spirit and in truth." Yea, and this 
is enough : we ought to employ the whole strength of our 
mind therein. But then I would ask, What is it to wor 
ship God, a Spirit, in spirit and in truth '( Why, it is to 
worship him with our spirit; to worship him in that 
manner which none but spirits are capable of. It is to 
believe in him, as a wise, just, holy Being, of purer eyes 
than to behold iniquity; and yp f merciful, gracious, and 



longsuffering ; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and 
sin; casting all our sins behind his back, and accepting us 
in the Beloved. It is, to love him, to delight in him, to 
desire him, with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and 
strength ; to imitate him we love, by purifying ourselves 
even as He is pure; and to obey him whom we love, and 
in whom we believe, both in thought, and word, and work. 
Consequently, one branch of the worshipping God iD 
spirit and in truth is, the keeping his outward command- 
ments. To glorify him, therefore, with our bodies as well 
as with our spirits ; to go through outward work with 
hearts lifted up to him ; to make our daily employment 
a sacrifice to God ; to buy and sell, to eat and drink to 
his glory; — this is worshipping God in spirit and in 
truth, as much as the praying to him in a wilderness. 

5. But if so, then contemplation is only one way of 
worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Therefore to 
give ourselves up entirely to this would be to destroy 
many branches of spiritual worship, all equally accept- 
able to God, and equally profitable, not hurtful, to the 
soul. For it is a treat mistake, to suppose that an at- 
tention to those ou+waid things, whereto the providence 
of God hath called us, is any clog to a Christian, or any 
hiuderance at all to his always seeing Him that is invi- 
sible. It does not at all damp the ardour of his thought ; 
it does not encumber or distract his mind ; it gives him 
no uneasy or hurtful care, who does it all as unto the 
Lord; who hath learned, whatsoever he docth in word 
or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ; having 
only one eye of the soul, which moves round on outward 
things, and one immovably fixed on God. Learn what 
this meaneth, ye poor recluses, that you may clearly 
discern your own littleness of faith ; yea, that you may 
no longer judge others by yourselves, go and learn what 
that meaneth : — 

" Thou, Lord, in tender love, 
Dost all my burdens bear ; 
Lift my heart to things above 
And fix it ever there. 


Calm on tumulf a wheel I sit ; 

Midst busy multitudes alone ; 
Sweetly waiting at thy feet. 

Till all thy will be done " 

6. But the grand objection is still behind. " We 
appeal," say they, " to experience. Our light did shine 
we used outward things many years : and yet they pro- 
fited nothing. We attended on all the ordinances ; but 
we were no better for it ; nor indeed any one else : nay, 
we were the worse : for we fancied ourselves Christians 
for so doing, when we knew not what Christianity 

I allow the fact : I allow that you and ten thousand 
more have thus abused the ordinances of God ; mistakin» 
the means for the end ; supposing that the doing these, or 
some other outward works, either was the religion of Jesu? 
Christ, or would be accepted in the place of it. But let 
the abuse be taken away, and the use remain. Now use all 
outward things, but use them with a cou.ituut eye to the 
renewal of your soul in righteousness and true holiness. 

7 But this is not all : they affirm, " Experience 
likewise shows, that the trying to do good is but lost 
labour. What does it avail to feed or clothe men's 
bodies, if they are just dropping into everlasting fire? 
And what good can any man do to their souls 'I If these 
are changed, God doeth it himself. Besides, all men are 
either good, at least desirous so to be, or obstinately 
evil. Now the former have no need of us : let them ask 
help of God, and it shall be given them. And the latter 
will receive no help from us ; nay, and our Lord forbids 
Jo 'cast our pearls before swine.' " 

I answer, (1.) Whether they will finally be lost or 
sa/ed, you are expressly commanded to feed the hungry, 
and clothe the naked. If you can, and do not, whatever 
becomes of them, ycu shall go away into everlasting 
fire. (2.) Though it is God only changes hearts, yet 
he generally doeth it by man. It is our part to do all 
lhat in us lies, as diligently as if we could iiange 
them ourselves, and then to leave the event to him 



S3.) God, in answer to their prayers, builds up his chil- 
ren by each other in every good gift; nourishing and 
strengthening the whole " body by that which every 
joint supplieth." So that " the eye cannot say to the 
band, I have no need of thee ;" no. nor even " the head 
to the feet, I have no need of you." Lastly. How are 
you assured, that the persons before you are dogs or 
swine ? Judge them not, until you have tried. " How 
knowest thou, O man, but thou mayest gain thy brother," 
but thou mayest, under God, save his soul from death 
When he spurns thy love, and blasphemes the good 
word, then it is time to give him up to God. 

8. " We have tried ; we have laboured to reform sin- 
cere; and what did it avail? On many we could make 
no impression at all : and if some were changed for a 
while, yet their goodness was but as the morning dew, 
and they were soon as bad, nay, worse than ever : so 
iiat we only hurt them, and ourselves too ; for our 
minds were hurried and discomposed, — perhaps filled 
with anger instead of love ; therefore we had better have 
kept our religion to ourselves." 

It is very possible this fact also may be true ; that 
you have tried to do good, and have not succeeded ; yea, 
that those who seemed reformed, relapsed into sin, and 
their last state was worse than the first. And what 
marvel ? Is the servant above his Master ? But fow 
often did He strive to save sinners, and they would not 
hear; or, when they had followed him awhile, they 
turned back as a dog to his vomit ! But he did not 
therefore desist from striving to do good : no more should 
you, whatever your It is your part to do 
as you are commanded : the event is in the hand of God 
You are not accountable for this : leave it to him who 
orders all things well. " In the morning sow thy seed, 
and in the evening withhold not thy hand : for thou 
knowest nut whether shall prosper." (Eccles. xi. 6.) 

But the trial hurries and frets your own soul. Per 
haps it did so for this very reason, because you thought 
jou was accountable for the event, which no man U 

3? u FF vol. I. 


nor indeed can be; — or perhaps, because you was ofl 
your guard ; you was not watchful over your own spirit 
But this is no reason for disobeying God. Try again , 
but try more warily than before. Do good (as you for- 
give) " not seven times only, but until seventy timee 
*8ven." Only be wiser by experience : attempt it every 
time more cautiously than before. Be more humbled 
before God, more deeply convinced that of yourself you 
can do nothing. Be more jealous over your own spirit; 
more gentle, and watchfu unto prayer. Thus " "v*i 
your bread upon the waters, «md you shall find it again 
after many days." 

IV. 1. Notwithstanding all these plausi;** vatences 
for hiding it, " let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
which is in heaven." This is the practical application 
which our Lord himself makes of the foregoing con- 

" Let your light so shine :" — your lowliness of heart, 
your gentleness, and meekness of wisdom ; your seri- 
ous, weighty concern for the things of eternity, and 
sorrow for the sins and miseries of men ; your earnest 
desire of universal holiness, and full happineso in God ; 
your tender good-will to all mankind, and fervent love 
to your supreme Benefactor. Endeavour not to conceal 
this light, wherewith God hath enlightened your soul ; 
but let it shine before men, before all with whom you 
are, in the whole tenor of your conversation. Let it 
shine still more eminently in your actions, in youi 
doing all possible good to all men; and in your suffer- 
ing for righteousness' sake, while you " rejoice and are 
exceeding glad, knowing thaf. great is your reward in 

2. "Let your light so shine befcre men, that they 
may see your good works ;" — so far let a Christian be 
from ever designing or desiring to conceal his religion ! 
On the contrary, let it be your desire, not to conceal it ; 
not to put the light under a bushel. Let it be your car* 
ic place it " on a candlestick, that it may give l ; ght tr 


all that are in the house." Only take heed, not to seek 
your own praise herein, not to desire any honour to 
yourselves. But let it be your sole aim, that all whc 
see your good works may " glorify your Father whicb 
is in heaven." 

3. Be this your one ultimate end in all things. With 
this view, be plain, open, undisguised. Let your love 
be without dissimulation : why should you hide fair, 
disinterested love ? Let there be no guile found in your 
mouth : let your words be the genuine picture of your 
heart. Let there be no darkness or reservedness in your 
conversation, no disguise in your behaviour. Leave 
this to those who have other designs in view ; designs 
which will not bear the light. Be ye artless and simplt 
to all mankind ; that all may see the grace of God which 
is in you. And although some will harden their hearts, 
yet others will take knowledge that ye have been with 
Jesus, and, by returning themselves to the great Bishop 
of their souls, " glorify your Father which is in heaven.' 

4. With this one design, that men may glorify Goo 
in you, go on in his name, and in the power of his 
might. Be not ashamed even to stand alone, so it be 
in the ways of God. Let the light which is in your 
heart shine in all good works, both works of piety and 
works of mercy. And in order to enlarge your ability 
of doing good, renounce all superfluities. Cut off ali 
unnecessary expense in food, in furniture, in apparel. 
Be a good steward of every gift of God, even of these 
his lowest gifts. Cut off all unnecessary expense of 
time, all needless or useless employments; and " what 
soever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' 
In a word, be thou full of 'aith and love ; do good ; suffer 
evil. And herein be thou " steadfast, unmovable ;" yea, 
" always abounding in the work of the Lord ; forasmuch 
u thou knowest that thy labour is not in vain in th» 


Ques. 1. (^f 1.) What is said of the beauty of holiness? 

Ques. 2. {\ 2.) What is here said of doing and suffering? 

Ques. 3. (% 3.) Who have spoken thus? 

Ques. 4. (^f 4.) What is said of this masterpiece of th? 
wisdom from beneath? 

Ques. 5- (f 5.) Has our Lord guarded us against this de- 

Ques. 6. (I. 1.) What is first to be shown here? 

Ques. 7. (I. 2.) What is said of retirement? 

Ques. 8. (I. 3.) What is said of meekness? 

Ques. 9. (I. 4.) What is the next branch of Christianity? 

Ques. 10. (I. 5.) What is said of conversing only with 
good men? 

Ques. 11. (I. 6.) Are we permitted to have commerce with 
the world? 

Ques. 12. (I. 7.) Without this would our Christian char- 
acter be complete? 

Ques. 13. (I. 8.) To what end should we diligently labor? 

Ques. 14. (I. 9.) How does God regard those who know 
him not? 

Ques. 15. (II. 1.) What is said of insensible influence? 

Ques. 16. (II. 2 ) To what plausible reasoning has our 
Lord given a full answer? 

Ques. 17. (II. 3.) Why do men love darkness? 

Ques. 18. (II. 4.) Is it possible to keep our religion se- 

Ques. 19. (II. 5.) From what words does this plainly ap- 



Ques. 20. (II. 6.) What is said of the divine example? 

Ques. 21. (II. 7.) Notwithstanding the plainness of Script- 
ore, what plausible objections appear? 

Ques. 22. (III. 1.) What is the third thing proposed? 

Ques. 23. (III. 2.) What second objection is offered? 

Ques. 24. (III. 3.) What is said of following after charity? 

Ques. 25. (III. 4.) What objection is here mentioned? 

Ques. 26. (III. 5.) What is contemplation said to be? 

Ques. 27. (III. 6.) What grand objection is still behind? 

Ques. 28. (III. 7.) What else do they affirm ? 

Ques. 29. (III. 8.) What is said of the failure to reform 

Ques. 30. (IV. 1.) Notwithstanding these objections, what 
is our duty ? 

Ques. 31. (IV. 2.) What is said of the light here? 

Ques. 32. (IV. 3.) What advice is here given? 

Ques. 33. (IV. 4.) How does the sermon conclude? 


I. Christ accused of introducing a new religion. Why 
this appeared to the Jews to be the case. Some might even 
hope that it was so. But our Lord refutes this, first by 
showing that he came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law. 
The law was completed, and the handwriting of ordinances 
nailed to the cross. The moral law — the Ten Command- 
ments — not taken away. His own obedience not the full 
meaning of his words. He came to remove all darkness 
and obscurity, to make plain the truth, and to establish a 
religion as old as the creation. 

II. Our Lord's declaration. Meaning of the words "jot" 
and " tittle." All things must be fulfilled. The poor evasion 
that Christ has fulfilled all the law, and therefore it is done 
away. No contrariety between the law and the gospel, but 
the closest connection. The law makes way for and points 
to the gospel. The pretensions of those who have under- 
taken to supersede the commands of God. 

III. The breaking of the least of the commandments of 
God. Those who make void the law reproach Christ. The 
term "these commandments" are equivalent for the law and 
the prophets. Keeping the whole law and offending in one 
point only. Obedience to all commandments required. 
Example teaches as well as precept. The drunkard advo- 
cates drunkenness, and so the Sabbath-breaker. What is 
meant by the words "he shall be least in the kingdom of 
heaven." The fearful penalty of those who, being teachers, 
professing to be sent from God, yet by precept and example 



breaking the commandments of God. These arranged in 
several classes. Living in willful, habitual sin. Those who 
lead a good-natured, harmless life. Above all, those who 
speak evil of the law itself. The surprising delusion of some 
of these. The faith of God's elect of high esteem, but only 
that is true faith which works by love. 

IV There is no other way to the kingdom of heaven. 
All others are ways of destruction. The office and employ- 
ment of the scribes. The Pharisees and their origin. Many 
of the scribes belonged to this sect. The righteousness of the 
scribes and Pharisees described. Compared with the re- 
quirements of the Christian religion. 




-■ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophet* : i 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 

" For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot 
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be ful- 

" Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, 
and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom 
of heaven : but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall 
be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 

" For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceea 
the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no 
case enter into the kingdom of heaven." — Matt. v. 17-20. 

1 Among the multitude of reproaches which fell upon 
Him who "was despised and rejected of men," it could 
not fail to be one, that he was a teacher of novelties, au 
introducer of a new religion. This might be affirmed 
with the more colour, because many of the expressions 
he had used were not common among the Jews : eithei 
they did not use them at all, or not in the same sense, 
not in so full and strong a meaning. Add to this, that 
the worshipping God " in spirit and in truth" must always 
appear a new religion to those who have hitherto kDown 
nothing but outside worship, nothing but the " form 
of godliness." 

2 And it is not improbable, some might hope it was 
N * that he was abolishing the old religion, and britg 


ing in another, — one which, they might flatter them- 
selves, would he an easier way to heaven. But our Lord 
refutes, in these words, both the vain hopes of the one, 
and the groundless calumnies of the other. 

I shall consider them in the same order as they lie, 
taking each verse for a distinct head of discourse. 

1. 1. And first, "think not that I am come to de- 
stroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, 
but to fulfil." 

The ritual or ceremonial law, delivered by Moses to 
the children of Israel, containing all the injunctions 
and ordinances which related to the old sacrifices and 
service of the temple, our Lord indeed did come to de- 
stroy, to dissolve and utterly abolish. To this bear all the 
apostles witness; not only Barnabas and Paul, who 
vehemently withstood those who taught that Christians 
' ought to keep the law of Moses;" (Acts xv. 5 ;) — not 
only St. Peter, who termed the insisting on this, on the 
observance of the ritual law, a " tempting God," and 
" putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which 
neither our fathers," saith he, " nor we, were able to 
bear;" — but all the apostles, elders, and brethren, being 
assembled with one accord, (verse 22,) declared, that to 
command them to keep this law, was to " subvert their 
souls;" and that "it seemed good to the Holy Ghost" 
and to them, to lay no such burden upon them. This 
" hand-writing of ordinances our Lord did blot out, take 
away, and nail to his cross." (Verse 28.) 

2. But the moral law, contained in the Ten Com- 
mandments, and enforced by the prophets, he did not 
take away. It was not the* design of his coming to re- 
voke any part of this. This is a law which never can 
be broken, which " stands fast as the faithful witness in 
heaven." The moral stands on an entirely different 
foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law, which was 
only designed for a temporary restraint upon a disobe- 
dient and stiffnecked people ; whereas this was from the 
beginning of the world, being " written not on tables of 

26 I.-3H 


stone," but on the hearts of all the children of men 
when they came out of the hands of the Creator. And, 
however the letters once wrote by the finger of God are 
now in a great measure defaced by sin, yet can they not 
wholly be blotted out, while we have any consciousness 
of good and evil. Every part of this law must remain 
in force upon all mankind, and in all ages ; as not de- 
pending either on time or place, or any other circum- 
stances liable to change, but on the nature of God, and 
the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to 
each other. 

3. " I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Some 
have conceived our Lord to mean, — -I am come to fulfil 
this, by my entire and perfect obedience to it. And it can- 
not be doubted but he did, in this sense, fulfil every 
part of it. But this does not appear to be what he in- 
tends here, being foreign to the scope of his present dis- 
course. Without question, his meaning in this place is, 
(consistently with all that goes before and follows after,) 
— I am come to establish it in its fulness, in spite of all 
the glosses of men : I am come to place in a full and 
clear view whatsoever was dark or obscure therein : I am 
come to declare the true and full import of every part 
of it ; to show the length and breadth, the entire ex- 
tent, of every commandment contained therein, and the 
height and depth, the inconceivable purity and spiritual- 
ity, of it in all its branches. 

4. And this our Lord has abundantly performed in 
the preceding and subsequent parts of the discourse be- 
fore us ; in which he has not introduced a new religiou 
into the world, but the same which was from the begin- 
ning; a religion the substance of which is, without 
question, as old as the creation, being coeval with man, 
and having proceeded from God at the very time when 
"man became a living soul;" {the substance, I say; for 
soine circumstances of it now relate to man as a fallen 
creature;) — a religion witnessed to both by the law 
uid by the prophets, in all succeeding generations. Ye* 


was it Dever so fully explained, nor so thoroughly un 
derstood, till the great Author of it himself condescend- 
ed to give mankind this authentic comment on all tne 
essential branches of it ; at the same time declaring it 
should never be changed, but remain in force to the end 
jf the world. 

II. 1. "For verily I say unto you," (a solemn pre- 
face, which denotes both the importance and certainty 
of what is spoken,) "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot 
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all 
be fulfilled." 

" One jot :" — it is literally, not one iota, not the most 
inconsiderable vowel. " Or one tittle," pta xtpaia, — one 
comer or point of a consonant. It is a proverbial ex- 
pression, which signifies that no one commandment con- 
tained in the moral law, nor the least part of any one, 
however inconsiderable it might seem, should ever be 

" Shall in no wise pass from the law :" on py na,ft%6^ 
imio *ow fo/tou. The double negative, here used, strength- 
ens the sense, so as to admit of no contradiction : and 
the word rtoptxflif, it may be observed, is not barely 
future, declaring what will be ; but has likewise the 
force of an imperative, ordering what shall be. It is 
a word of authority, expressing the sovereign will and 
power of Him that spake ; of Him whose word is the 
law of heaven and earth, and stands fast for ever and 

"One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass, till heaven 
and earth pass ;" or, as it is expressed immediately after, 
i«$ ov Ma/fto, ytvqtau, — till all (or rather all things) bt 
fulfilled, till the consummation of all things. Here \» 
therefore no room for that poor evasion, (with which 
some have delighted themselves greatly,) that " no part 
of the law was to pass away, till all the law was fulfilled : 
but it has been fulfilled by Christ ; and therefore now 
must pass, for the gospel to be established." Not so; 
the word all does not mean all the law, but all things 
in the universe ; as neither has the term fulfilled an? 


reference to the law, but to all things in heaven and 

2. From all this we may learn, that there is no con- 
trariety at all between the law and the gospel ; that 
there is no need for the law to pass away, in order to 
the establishing the gospel. Indeed, neither of them 
supersedes the other, but they agree perfectly well 
together. Yea, the very same words, considered in 
different respects, are parts both of the law and of the 
gospel : if they are considered as commandments, they 
are parts of the law; if as promises, of the gospel. 
Thus, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart," when considered as a commandment, is a branch 
of the law : when regarded as a promise, is an essential 
part of the gospel ; — the gospel being no other than the 
commands of the law, proposed by way of promise 
Accordingly, poverty of spirit, purity of heart, and 
whatever else is enjoined in the holy law of God, are no 
other, when viewed in a gospel light, than so many 
great and precious promises. 

3. There is, therefore, the closest connection that can 
be conceived between the law and the gospel. On the 
one hand, the law continually makes way for, and points 
us to, the gospel ; on the other, the gospel continually 
leads us to a more exact fulfilling of the law. The law, 
for instance, requires us to love God, to love our neigh- 
bour, to be meek, humble, or holy : we feel that we are 
not sufficient for these things; yea, that "with man 
this is impossible." But we see a promise of God, to 
give as that love, and to make us bumble, meek, and 
holy : we lay hold of this gospel, of these glad tidings : 
it is done unto us according to our faith; and "the 
righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us," through faith 
which is in Christ Jesus. 

We may yet further ©bserve, that every command in 
holy writ is only a covered promise. For by that 
solemn declaration, " Tbis is the covenant I will make 
after those days, saitb tbc Lord : I will put my laws in 
vour minds, and write them in your hearts," God balk 


engaged to give whatsoever he commands. Docs be 
command us then to " pray without ceasing ?" to " re- 
joice evermore 1" to be " holy as He is holy ?" It is 
enough : he will work in us this very thing : it shall be 
onto us according to his word. 

4. But if these things are so, we cannot be at a loss 
what to think of those who, in all ages of the church, 
have undertaken to change or supersede some com- 
mands of God, as they professed, by the peculiar direc- 
tion of his Spirit. Christ has here given us an infallible 
rule, whereby to judge of all such pretensions. Chris- 
tianity, as it includes the whole moral law of God, both 
by way of injunction and of promise, if we will hear him, 
is designed of God to be the last of all his dispen- 
sations. There is no other to come after this. This is to 
endure till the consummation of all things. Of conse- 
quence, all such new revelations are of Satan, and not of 
God ; and all pretences to another more perfect dispensa- 
tion fall to the ground of course. " Heaven and cartb 
shall pass away ;" but this word " shall not pass away." 

III. 1. "Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of 
these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he 
shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven : but 
whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be 
called great in the kingdom of heaven." 

Who, what are they, that make the preaching of the 
law a character of reproach ? Do they not see on whom 
the reproach must fall,- -on whose head it must light at 
last ? Whosoever on this ground despiseth us, despiseth 
Him that sent us. For did ever any man preach the 
law like Him, even when he' came not to condemn, but 
to save the world ; wh< n he came purposely to " bring 
life and immortality to light through the gospel 1" 
Can any preach the law more expressly, more rigorously, 
than Christ does in these words ? And who is he that 
shall amend them ? Who is he that shall instruct the 
Son of God how to preach ? Who will teach him a 
better way of delivering the message which he hatb 
received of the Father ? 



2 " Whosoever shall break one of these least com 
mandments," or one of the least of these commandments. 
" These commandments," we may observe, is a term 
«jsed by our Lord as an equivalent with the law, or the 
law and the prophets, — which is the same thing, seeing 
the prophets added nothing to the law, but only declared, 
explained, or enforced it, as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost. 

" Whosoever shall break one of these least command- 
ments," especially if it be done wilfully or presumptu- 
ously : — one; for " he that keepeth the whole law, and" 
thus " offends in one point, is guilty of all ;" the wrath 
of God abideth on him, as surely as if he had broken 
every one. So that no allowance is made for one dar- 
ling lust ; no reserve for one idol ; no excuse for refrain- 
ing from all besides, and only giving way to one bosom 
sin. What God demands is, an entire obedience j we 
are to have an eye to all his commandments ; otherwise 
we lose all the labour we take in keeping some, and our 
poor souls for ever and ever. 

" One of these least," or one of the least of these com- 
mandments. Here is another excuse cut off, whereby 
many, who cannot deceive God, miserably deceive their 
own souls. " This sin," saith the sinner, " is it not a 
little one ? Will not the Lord spare me in this thing ? 
Surely he will not be extreme to mark this, since I do 
not offend in the greater matters of the law." Vain 
hope ! Speaking after the manner of men, we may 
term these great, and those little commandments ; but, 
in reality, they are not so. If we use propriety of 
speech, there is no such thing as a little sin ; every sin 
being a transgression of the holy and perfect law, and 
an affront on the great Majesty of heaven. 

3. " And shall teach men so." In some sense it may 
be said, that whosoever openly breaks any command- 
ment teaches others to do the same; for example speaks, 
and many times louder than precept. In this sense, it 
in apparent, every open drunkard is a teacher of drunk- 
oaness ; every Sabbath-breaker is constantly teaching 


his neighbour to profane the day of the Lord. Bui 
this is not all ; an habitual breaker of the law is seldom 
content to stop here : he generally teaches other men tc 
do so too, by word as well as example ; especially when 
he hardens his neck, and hateth to be reproved. Such 
a sinner soon commences an advocate for sin ; he de- 
fends what he is resolved not to forsake ; he excuses the 
sin which he will not leave, and thus directly teaches 
every sin which he commits. 

" He shall be called least in the kingdom of he& 
yen;" — that is, shall have no part therein. He is a 
stranger to the kingdom of heaven which is on earth ; 
he hath no portion in that inheritance; no share of 
that "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." Nor, by consequence, can he have any part 
in the glory which shall be revealed. 

4. But if those who even thus break and teach others 
to break, " one of the least of these commandments, 
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven," shall 
have no part in the kingdom of Christ and of Q od ; if 
even these shall be cast into "outer darkness, where if= 
wailing and gnashing of teeth ;" then where will they 
appear whom our Lord chiefly and primarily intends in 
these words, — they who, bearing the character of 
teachers sent from God, do nevertheless themselves 
break his commandments ; yea, and openly teach others 
so to do ; being corrupt both in life and doctrine ? 

5. These are of several sorts. Of the first sort are 
they who live in some wilful, habitual sin. Now, if an 
ordinary sinner teaches by his example, how much more 
a sinful minister, — even if he does not attempt to de- 
fend, excuse, or extenuate his sin ! If he does, he is a 
murderer indeed ; yea, the murderer-general of his con- 
gregation. He peoples the regions of death. He is the 
choicest instrument of the prince of darkness. When 
he goes hence, " hell from beneath is moved to meet 
him at his coming." Nor can he sink into the bottom- 
legs pit, without dragging a multitude after him. 

6. Next to these are the good-natured, good sort of 



men ; who live an easy, harmless life, neither troubling 
themselves with outward sin, nor with inward holiness ; 
men who are remarkable neither one way nor the other. 
— neither for religion nor irreligion ; who are very regu- 
lar both in public and private, but do not pretend to bo 
any stricter than their neighbours. A minister of this 
kind breaks, not one, or a few only, of the least com- 
mandments of God; but all the great and weighty 
branches of his law, which relate to the power of godli- 
ness, and all that require us to " pass the time of our 
sojourning in fear," to " work out our salvation with 
fear and trembling," to have our "loins always girt, 
and our lights burning," to "strive" or agonize "to 
enter in at the strait gate." And he teaches men so, by 
the whole form of his life, and the general tenor of his 
preaching, which uniformly tends to soothe those in 
their pleasing dream who imagine themselves Christians, 
and are not ; to persuade all who attend upon his minis- 
try to sleep on and take their rest. No marvel, there- 
fore, if both he, and they that follow him, wake together 
in everlasting burnings! 

7 But above all these, in the highest rank of the 
enemies of the gospel of Christ are they who openly 
and explicitly "judge the law" itself, and "speak evil 
of the law ;" who teach men to break (%vaai, to dissolve, 
to loose, to untie, the obligation of) not one only, whether 
of the least or of the greatest, but all the command- 
ments at a stroke ; who teach without any cover, in so 
many words, — " What did our Lord do with the law? 
He abolished it. There is but one duty, which is that 
of believing. All commands are unfit for our times. 
From any demand of the law, no man is obliged now to 
go one step, or give away one farthing, to eat or omit 
one morsel." This is indeed carrying matters with a 
high hand ; this is withstanding our Lord to the face, 
and telling him that he understood not how to deliver 
the message on which he was sent. Lord, lay not 
this sin to their charge ! Father, forgive them ; foi 
they know not what they do ! 


8. The most surprising of all the circumstances thai 
attend this strong delusion is, that they who are given 
op to it really believe that they honour Christ by over- 
throwing his law, and that they are magnifying his 
office, while they are destroying his doctrine Yea. 
they honour him just as Judas did, when he saidj 
•' flail, Master !" and kissed him. And he may as 
justly say to every one of them, " Betrayest thou the 
Son of man with a kiss ?" It is no other than betray- 
ing him with a kiss, to talk of his blood, and take away 
his crown ; to set light by any part of his law, under 
pretence of advancing his gospel. Nor, indeed, can 
any one escape this charge, who preaches faith in any 
Buch a manner as either directly or indirectly tends to 
wt aside any branch of obedience ; who preaches Christ 
ho as to disannul, or weaken in any wise, the least of 
the commandments of God. 

9. It is impossible, indeed, to have too high an es- 
teem for "the faith of God's elect." And we must all 
declare, " By grace ye are saved through faith ; not of 
works, lest any man should boast." We must cry 
aloud to every penitent sinner, " Believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." But, at the 
same time, we must take care to let all men know we 
esteem no faith but that which worketh by love ; and 
that we are not saved by faith, unless so far as we are 
delivered from the power as well as the guilt of sin. 
And when we say, "Believe, and thou shalt be saved," 
we do not mean, " Believe, and thou shalt step from sin 
to heaven, without any holiness coming between ; faith 
supplying the place of holiness;" but, "Believe, and 
thou shalt be holy; believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou 
shalt have peace and power together : thou shalt have 
power from Him in whom thou believest, to trample 
sin under thy feet; power to love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and to serve him with all thy strength : 
thou shalt have power, ' by patient continuance in well 
doing, to seek for glory, and honour, and immortality ; 
thou shalt both do and teach all the commandments of 

34 GG vol. I. 


God, from the least even to the greatest : thou shall 
teach them by thy life as well as tfcy words, and so ' be 
called great in the kingdom of heaven.' " 

IV 1. Whatever other way we teach to the king- 
dom of heaven, to glory, honour, and immortality, be 
it called " the way of faith," or by any other name, it 
is, in truth, the way to destruction. It will not bring 
a man peace at the last. For thus saith the Lord ; 
" I say unto you, That except your righteousness 
shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and 
Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." 

The scribes, mentioned so often in the New Testa- 
ment, as some of the most constant and vehement oppo- 
sers of our Lord, were not secretaries, or men employed 
in writing only, as that term might incline us to believe. 
Neither were they lawyers, in our common sense of the 
word ; although the word xo/nxoi is so rendered in our 
translation. Their employment had no affinity at all to 
that of a lawyer among us. They were conversant with 
the laws of God, and not with the laws of man. These 
were their study ; it was their proper and peculiar busi- 
ness to read and expound the law and the prophets; 
particularly in the synagogues. They were the ordinary, 
stated preachers among the Jews. So that if the sense 
of the original word was attended to, we might render 
it, " the divines." For these were the men who made 
divinity their profession : and they were generally (as 
their name literally imports) men of letters; men of the 
greatest account for learning that were then in the Jew- 
ish nation. 

2. The Pharisees were a very ancient sect, or body 
of n.en, among the Jews; originally so called from the 
Hebrew word J^")D — which signifies to separate or di- 
vide. Not that they made any formal separation from, 
or division in, the national church : they were only dis- 
tinguished from others by greater strictness of life, by 
more exactness of conversation. For they were zealous 
f»f the law in the minutest points ; paying tithes of mint. 


wise, and cummin : and hence they were had in honour 
of all the people, and generally esteemed the he Jest of 

Many of the scribes were of the sect of the Pharisees. 
Thus St. Paul himself, who was educated for a scribe, 
first at the university of Tarsus, and after that in Jeru- 
salem, at the feet of Gamaliel, (one of the most learned 
scribes or doctors of the law that were then in the na- 
tion,) declares of himself before the council, " I am a 
Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee;" (Acts xxiii. 6;) and 
before King Agrippa, " After the straitest sect of our 
religion, I lived a Pharisee." (xxvi. 5.) And the whole 
body of the scribes generally esteemed and acted in 
concert with the Pharisees. Hence we find our Saviour 
so frequently coupling them together, as coming in manj 
respects under the same consideration. In this place 
they seem to be mentioned together as the most emi- 
nent professors of religion ; the former of whom were 
accounted the wisest, — the latter, the holiest of men. 

3. What " the righteousness of the scribes and Phari- 
sees" really was, it is not difficult to determine. Our 
Lord has preserved an authentic account which one of 
them gave of himself: and he is clear and full in de- 
scribing his own righteousness ; and cannot be supposed 
to have omitted any part of it. He went up indeed 
"into the temple to pray;" but was so intent upon his 
own virtues, that he forgot the design upon which he 
came. For it is remarkable, he does not properly praj 
at all : he only tells God how wise and good he was. 
" Sod, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers ; or even as this publi- 
can. I fast twice in the we'ek ; I give tithes of all that 
I possess." His righteousness therefore consisted of 
three parts : first, saith he, " I am not as other men are;" 
[ am not an extortioner, not unjust, not an adulterer ; 
not "even as this publican:" secondly, "I fast twice 
in the week :" and, thirdly, " I give tithes cf all that 1 

" I am not as other men are." This is not a smaD 


point It is not every man that can Bay this. It is a* 
if he tad said, " I do not suffer myself to be carried 
»way «y that great torrent, custom. I live not bv 
tuston but by reason ; not by the examples of men, 
Out bv <he word of God. I am not an extortioner, not 
unjust, not an adulterer ; however common these sin* 
we, eve«* among those who are called the people of God : 
(extortiwn, in particular, — a kind of legal injustice, not 
punishat>ie by any human law, the making gain of 
another's ignorance or necessity, — having filled every 
corner 01 the land;) nor even as this publican; not 
guilty of j»oy open or presumptuous sin ; not an out- 
ward sinner ; but a fair, honest man, of blameless life 
and conversation." 

4. " I fast twice in the week." There is more implied 
in this than we may at first be sensible of. All the 
stricter Pharisees observed the weekly fasts; namely, 
every Monday and Thursday. On the former day, they 
fasted in memory of Moses receiving on that day (as 
their tradition taught) the two tables of stone written by 
the finger of God ; on the latter, in memory of his casting 
them out of his hand, when he saw the people dancing 
round the golden calf. On these days, they took no 
sustenance at all till three in the afternoon, the hour at 
which they began to offer up the evening sacrifice in the 
temple. Till that hour, it was their custom to remain 
in the temple, in some of the corners, apartments, or 
courts thereof; that they might be ready to assist at all 
the sacrifices, and to join in all the public prayers. The 
time between they were accustomed to employ, partly 
in private addresses to God, partly in searching the 
Scriptures, in reading the law and the prophets, and ic 
meditating thereon. Thus much is implied in, " I fast 
twice in the week ;" the second branch of the righteous- 
ness of a Pharisee. 

5. " I give tithes of all that I possess." This the 
Pharisees did with the utmost exactness. They would 
not except the most inconsiderable thing; no, not mint, 
miie, and cummin. They would not keep back tht 

aauxxv.] sermon on the mount. 533 

least point of what they believed properly tc belong tc 
God ; but gave a full tenth of their whole substance 
yearly, and of all their increase, whatsoever it was. 

Tea, the stricter Pharisees, (as has been often observed 
by those who are versed in the ancient Jewish writings,) 
not content with giving one-tenth of their substance to 
God in his priests and Levites, gave another tenth to 
God in the poor, and that continually. They gave the 
game proportion of all they had in alms, as they were 
accustomed to give in tithes. And this likewise they 
adjusted with the utmost exactness : that they might 
not keep back any part, but might fully render unto God 
the things which were God's, as they accounted tt»is to 
be. So that, upon the whole, they gave away, from 
year to year, an entire fifth of all that they possessed. 

6. This was " the righteousness of the scribes and 
Pharisees;" a righteousness which, in many respects, 
went far beyond the conception which many have been 
accustomed to entertain concerning it. But perhaps it 
will be said, " It was all false and feigned ; for they 
were all a company of hypocrites." Some of them 
doubtless were ; men who had really no religion at all, 
no fear of God, or desire to please him ; who had no 
eoncern for the honour that cometh of God, but only for 
the praise of men. And these are they whom our Lord 
so severely condemns, so sharply reproves, on many 
occasions. But we must not suppose, because many 
Pharisees were hypocrites, therefore all were so. Nor 
indeed is hypocrisy by any means essential to the 
character of a Pharisee. This is not the distinguishing 
.nark of their sect. It is rather this, according to our 
Lord's account, " They trusted in themselves that they 
were righteous, and despised others." This is their 
genuine badge. But the Pharisee of this kind cannot 
be a hypocrite. He must be, in the common sense, 
sincere j otherwise he could not " trust in himself that 
he is righteous." The man who was here commending 
himself to God, unquestionably thought himself right, 
«-«■. Consequently he was no hypocrite; he was no* 



oonscious to himself of any insincerity. He now spokt 
to God just what he thought ; namely, that he waa 
aDundantly better than other men. 

But the example of St. Paul, were thei-e no other, is 
sufficient to put this out of all question. He could not 
only say, when he was a Christian, " Herein do I exercise 
myself to have always a conscience void of offence 
toward God, and toward men ;" (Acts xxiv. 16 j) but 
even concerning the time when he was a Pharisee, " Men 
and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before 
God until this day." (xxiii. 1.) He was therefore sin- 
cere when he was a Pharisee, as well as when he was a 
Christian. He was no more a hypocrite when he per- 
secuted the church, than when he preached the faith 
which once he persecuted. Let this then be added to 
" the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees," — a 
sincere belief that they are righteous, and in all things 
" doing God service." 

7. And yet, "Except your righteousness," saith our 
Lord, " shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and 
Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." A solemn and weighty declaration, and 
which it behoves all who are called by the name of 
Christ seriously and deeply to consider. But before we 
inquire how our righteousness may exceed theirs, let us 
examine whether at present we come up to it. 

First. A Pharisee was "not as other men are." In 
externals he was singularly good. Are we so '( Do we 
dare to be singular at all ? Do we not rather swim with 
the stream ? Do we not many times dispense with re- 
ligion and reason together, because we would not look 
particular ? Are we not often more afraid of being out 
of the fashion, than being out of the way of salvation '( 
Have we courage to stem the tide ? — to run counter to 
the world ? — " to obey God rather than man ?" Other- 
wise, the Pharisee leaves us behind at the very first stop 
It is well if we overtake him any more. 

But to come closer. Can we use his first plea with 
,ln4 J — which is, in substance, " I do no harm : I liv» 



in no outward sin : I do nothing for which my own 
heart condemns me." Do you not ? Are you sure of 
that ? Do you live in no practice for which your own 
heart condemns you ? If you are not an adulterer, if 
you are not unchaste, either in word or deed, are you 
not unjust ? The grand measure of justice, as well ap 
of mercy, is, " Do unto others as thou wouldest they 
should do unto thee." Do you walk by this rule ? Do 
you never do unto any what you would not they should 
do unto you ? Nay, are you not grossly unjust ? Are 
you not an extortioner ? Do you not make a gain of 
any one's ignorance or necessity ; neither in buying nor 
selling ? Suppose you were engaged in trade : do you 
demand, do you receive, no more than the real value of 
what you sell? Do you demand, do you receive, no 
more of the ignorant than of the knowing, — of a little 
child, than of an experienced trader ? If you do, why 
does not your heart condemn you ? You are a bare- 
faced extortioner 1 Do you demand no more than the 
usual price of goods of any who is in pressing want, — 
who must have, and that without delay, the things which 
you only can furnish him with ? If you do, this also is 
flat extortion. Indeed you do not come up to the right- 
eousness of a Pharisee. 

8. A Pharisee, secondly, (to express his sense in our 
common way,) used all the means of grace. As he 
fasted often and much, twice in every week, so he 
attended all the sacrifices. He was constant in public 
and private prayer, and in reading and hearing the 
Scriptures. Do you go as far as this ? Do you fast 
much and often ? — twice in the week ? I fear not. 
Once at least, — " on all Fridays in the year ?" (So our 
Church clearly and peremptorily enjoins all her members 
to do ; to observe all these, as well as the vigils and the 
forty days of Lent, as days of fasting or abstinence.) 
Do you fast twice in the year ? I am afraid some 
among us cannot plead even this ! Do you neglect no 
opportunity of attending and partaking of the Christian 
••orifice? How many are they who call themselYW 


Christians, and yet are utterly regardless of it, — yet eft. 
not eat of that bread, or drink of that cup, for months 
perhaps years, together ! Do you, every day, either 
hear the Scriptures, or read them, and meditate thereon? 
Do you join in prayer with the great congregation, daily, 
if you have opportunity; if not, whenever you can; 
particularly on that day which you " remember to keep 
it holy ?" Do you strive to make opportunities ? Are 
you glad when they say unto you, " We will go into the 
house of the Lord ?" Are you zealous of, and diligent 
in, private prayer ? Do you suffer no day to pass with- 
out it ? Rather, are not some of you so far from spend- 
ing therein (with the Pharisee) several hours in one 
day, that you think ne hour full enough, if not too 
much ? Do you spend an hour in a day, or in a week, 
in praying to your Father which is in secret ? yea, an 
hour in a month ? Have you spent one hour together 
in private prayer ever since you was born ? Ah, poor 
Christian ! Shall not the Pharisee rise up in the judg- 
ment against thee and condemn thee ? His righteous- 
ness is as far above thine as the heaven is above the 
earth 1 

9. The Pharisee, thirdly, paid tithes and gave alms 
of all that he possessed. And in how ample a manner ! 
So that he was (as we phrase it) " a man that did much 
good." Do we come up to him here ? Which of us is 
so abundant as he was in good works ? Which of us 
gives a fifth of all his substance to God, both of the 
principal and of the increase ? Who of us, out of 
(suppose) an hundred pounds a year, gives twenty to 
God and the poor ; out of fifty, ten ; and so in a larger 
or smaller proportion ? When shall our righteousness, 
in using all the means of grace, in attending all the 
ordinances of God, in avoiding evil and doing good, 
equal at least the righteousness of the scribes and Pha- 
risees '( 

10. Although, if it only equalled theirs, what would 
that profit ? " For verily I say unto you, Except your 
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of tb# 


scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter intc 
the kingdom of heaven." But how can it ezoeed theirs f 
Wherein does the righteousness of a Christian exceed 
that cf a scribe or Pharisee ? Christian righteousness 
exceeds theirs, first, in the extent of it. Most of the 
Pharisees, though they were rigorously exact in many 
things, yet were emboldened, by the traditions of the 
elders, to dispense with others of equal importance. 
Thus, they were extremely punctual in keeping the 
fourth commandment, — they would not even rub an ear 
of corn on the Sabbath-day ; but not at all